Historic spar tree removed from Camp 18 restaurant

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 5:55 PM PDT
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ELSIE Ore. (KPTV) - The historic spar tree at Camp 18, off Highway 26, stood 160 feet and was put in the ground back in 2009, as a tribute to the area’s logging past. But 14 years later, it was time for it to be removed

Loggers say it was time to take down the spar tree. They used a saw wrench into the stem, the deeper the saw wrench goes, means the wood is rotten and is no longer stable.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of structure left,” says Mike Pihl of Mike Pihl Logging. “It’s kind of like a piece of firewood, it only lasts so long.”

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If the spar tree were to stay, it could cause some damage. Pihl says last year, someone ran into the guy lines with a motorhome. That damage could send enough of a shock through it to send the spar tree down just because it’s so rotten. That’s when he decided the spar tree would have to come down.

Crews used guy lines to hold the tree stable, but the process took a turn for the worse. It fell about 120 feet in the wrong direction, tore in half and 40 feet of it fell back toward the crew. No one was hurt. Instead, the tree fell and damaged an electrical box, a log rail car and an old oil tanker.

“We had about six safety meetings before we did this so luckily with everyone was alright,” says Pihl. “We as loggers because we’re still alive, just learn to run and run in the right direction and have a path picked out ahead of time. I did a headcount and make sure everything was alright.”

Pihl says they plan to put a steel spar in its place.