In North Idaho, a way of life exists only on film. It is the annual log drive on the Clearwater River. "Potlatch had these logging crews that during the fall and winter put up these huge racks of logs along the North Fork of the Clearwater," says historian Marty Peterson. "In the spring when the high water hit, they cut them loose and floated them downstream to Lewiston down to the mill."
The log drives were big events in North Idaho. "Dad would load the family in the car and we’d all get out and we’d watch the log drive," Peterson says. "If you were really lucky, they had a log jam going on and you’d get to watch the loggers out there trying to undo that jam."
Construction of Dworshak Dam ended the log drives, but the memories remain. "We have motion picture footage of the wannigans, the floating dining halls and bunkhouses, floating alongside the log drives," Peterson says. "I think that things like that are a very important part of the historic record that we need to maintain."
Potlatch Lumber Company Records
The Last Log Drive
Log Drive on the Connecticut
Dworshak Dam photo