An dry land log sort northeast of Kemp Lake.

An dry land log sort northeast of Kemp Lake.

The dry land log sort

Sooke region historian Elida Peers writes about the past

Forerunner to the Sooke Business Park, located at 3220 Otter Point Road, five kilometres west along Otter Point Road from Sooke’s central traffic light, this plot, deep within the forest, was cleared in the 1970s for a dry land log sort. This piece, northeast of Kemp Lake, was on the route to the water from Section 55, Otter District, which had been purchased in a timber sale early in 1946 by the Butler brothers, Claude, Wally, Tom and Eric.

Most of the trees Butlers harvested were Douglas-fir, amabalis fir and western hemlock, with some falling of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and white pine.  Logging took place in the watersheds of the Golledge and DeMamiel Creeks, up to the west fork of the Leech River. Superintendent for Butlers during much of this period of extensive logging was Jim Brandon, followed by Ernie Jay.

The company built the road called Butler Mainline and in time the many spur extensions created a logging road system of 1,000 miles. Butlers, and later their successors, employed over 100 workers. While it is not possible to mention them all, Dick Herrling was for some years the well-known bullbucker who worked with a team of up to 20 fallers.

Changes in operational structure and ownership meant it was T.W. McKenzie Logging that built the log sort and shortly afterwards several logging entities amalgamated to become Pacific Forest Products Ltd, continuing the same operations.

According to Joe Zigay, who shared this photo, it took about a year for the 41-acre site to be cleared, the surface paved and readied for use as a sorting site for logs that were trucked down from the uplands. Twenty-two men were employed in the off-loading, sorting and bundling.  Prior to this dry-land sort coming into use in the late 1970s the logs had been trucked all the way down Butler Main to the sea, where they were boomed in the salt chuck.

Visiting the acreage that once rang out with the clang and growl of heavy industrial equipment, the roar of truck engines and hydraulic loaders, today you will find not only a calmer “business park” but the new administration headquarters for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area of the Capital Regional District. It’s a spanking new building, almost completed – how fitting that it’s address is “Butler Road.”

Watch for a photo of Butler Brothers’ behemoth off-road log hauler next column.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read