Linda Offutt

Linda Offutt

Take a free logging and mill tour in Forks, visit the Forks Timber Museum

FORKS — Marcia Bingham has spent most of her life in Forks, rubbing elbows with loggers.

As director of customer service for the Forks Visitor Information Center, 1411 S. Forks Ave., she helps manage the weekly logging and mill tours.

People taking the tours learn about modern logging by getting close enough to smell sawed logs and the diesel exhaust of the machinery.

Bingham says the tours are “a great service for the public to educate them about logging because if they have only seen ‘Ax Men,’ they don’t have any idea about what actual logging is all about.”

Lissy Andros, director of the visitor center, adds:

“These men are professionals. You are seeing them at work and they treat everyone with professional courtesy.”

The dramatic scenes that are part of “reality TV” are pleasantly absent from these tours.

And the tours are free — although donations are appreciated and help the chamber pay for gas and wear and tear on the tour van.

Local businesses also help — “we just got a thousand-dollar donation from Dahlgren Logging to put fuel in the van,” says Andros.

The three-hour tours leave from the visitor center at 9 a.m. every Wednesday now through Sept. 10.

Tours are limited to 10 people so reservations are recommended — make them by phoning 360-374-2531 or 800-443-6757.

Appropriate footwear is required (boots or sneakers are acceptable; sandals, flip flops or open-toed shoes are not).

Cameras are allowed. Bring a jacket. Children over 8 are welcome.

The two primary destinations are the Allen Logging Co. mill and a nearby logging site.

While driving, the guides explain the different sights of the forest, from clearcuts to thinning.

“It’s really the guides who make the tour,” Andros said. “They all have logging experience but from different viewpoints.”

Currently, the volunteer guides are Jack Zaccardo, Richard Halverson, Randy Messenbrink and Joe Seymour.

Forks Timber Museum

Next door to the visitor center is the Forks Timber Museum, where people can explore the history of life on the West End.

It is there that many people discover that agriculture and trapping were original occupations of area homesteaders.

Logging was born of necessity and became its own industry later.

Linda Offutt is the museum manager. She succeeded long-time manager Sherrill Fouts, who retired last fall.

The museum’s goal, says Offutt, is “to take history from early Forks and West End, preserve it, then put it out for others to enjoy — both locals and visitors alike.”

A thresher, cranberry harvester, firefighting equipment and tidbits of a simpler time are arranged in engaging scenes throughout the museum.

Of course, there are logging scenes:

■ Peer through the doorway into a logging camp bunkhouse.

■ Consider the effort to cook flapjacks and make coffee for scores of hungry men while gazing at a 9-foot cast iron wood-burning cookstove.

■ Imagine the vibrations of a heavy, two-man chain saw.

The museum resides in a building constructed by the Forks High School carpentry classes of 1989 and 1990.

Offutt says maintenance and cleaning is done solely by volunteers, mostly drawn from the museum’s board members. Hers is the only paid position.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteer docents are Tom Rosmond, Hop Dhooghe, Anna-Mae Harris, Eleanor Thornton, Joe Offutt, Elaine Hurn, Dixie Gaydeski and Vicki Andros.

Fouts is a volunteer, too, finding it nigh impossible to stay away from a historical collection she knows and loves so well.

———–

Zorina Barker lives in the Sol Duc Valley with her husband, a logger, and two children she home-schools.

She writes the bi-monthly West End Neighbor column for Peninsula Daily News. Submit items and ideas for the column to her at [email protected] or phone her at 360-327-3702.

More in News

Spencer Weber
A scene from the photo archives of the Northwest Maritime Center's Race to Alaska looks deceptively serene. The 750-mile race of unmotorized watercraft from Port Townsend to Ketchikan is on again this year.
Race to Alaska ready to sail

Contest resumes after two-year hiatus

Timber sale, block grants discussed at county meetings

Government entities meet next week on North Olympic Peninsula

Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group

The Rev. ClayOla Gitane, rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, places signs and teddy bears in memory of the 21 victims of Tuesday's mass shooting in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Church hosts candlelight service for Texas school shooting victims

Prayer vigil tonight will include an interfaith service

c
NWI: Purchase protects Discovery Creek headwaters

Ninety-one acres bought from Rayonier

Dr. Gib Morrow, Dr. Allison Berry and OESD Superintendent Greg Lynch.
Public health officers honored for COVID-19 work

Greg Lynch, superintendent at the Olympic Educational Service District 114,… Continue reading

Charges to be urged after report of toy guns at schools

Students allegedly pose on campuses over weekend

Memorial Day edition available online only

Memorial Day is a federal holiday and the U.S. Postal Service does… Continue reading

Memorial Day ceremonies set Monday

Flags to be placed on veterans’ graves on Saturday

Most Read