The spring drive took twenty to thirty days. It might take longer if the water was low, but it was never shorter than this. The drive was over when the logs arrived in Red Bank. Logs would gather here to wait for boats to haul them away to the saw mill. The job was done for most of the men. Some would go home to do their farming. Some would be employed by the saw mills.
Once all the logs reached Red Bank, rafting had to be done. What is rafting? It is joining the logs together until they make a raft. Then the logs are marked by each logging camp. Mr. Johnsonís raft went to Fraserís Mill. Their mark was three green dots on each end of the logs.
After the rafting was done, the raft was hauled to Fraserís Mill by a boat. Fraserís Mill is now known as Boise Cascade.
Through the summer, the men would work hard to get the logs from Red Bank to the saw mills. ďThe last lumber drive was around 1947 or í48,Ē said Tom Johnston.
Today, the lumber industry is still very important to the Miramichi. A number of mills along the river are still in business. Rayonierís Mill in Blackville, Andersonís Mill and Boise Cascade in Newcastle, and Acadia and Burchillís Mills do a good business.
Machines now do the same work that the men in the lumber camps used to do. These machines can do the work much faster. It takes fewer men to finish the work.
Also, it is easier to get the logs to the mills. Large trucks carry the lumber from the woods. The river is no longer filled with logs travelling to the mills.
The big lumber logs are gone. Whenever a truckload of logs go by, some old-timer somewhere must be thinking of how it used to be.