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Forestry & Streamwork

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Forestry & Streamwork

Stream Repair

These logs - placed by helicopter - will soon change the course of the stream to create and enhance fish habitat.  

Consulting Foresters on staff specializing in:


Helicopter Logging Layout and Appraisals


-professional foresters for hire with decades of experience


-world-wide operations


-firm quotes for helicopter logging


Timber Cruising and Marking


-cruising for volume and value


-marking for value, wildlife, stand improvement and forest health



Marine Logistics in Alaska


-extensive experience in cost-effective wood movement in SE Alaska



Remote Camp Solutions


-owners, operators and builders of camps in remote locations



Stream and Fish Habitat Enhancement


-design and in-stream-placement of structures to improve fish habitat.


Columbia Helicopters is very proud of the work we're doing to help support fish habitat enhancement. Across the Pacific Northwest, fish and stream biologists are using our helicopters to place boulders, logs and root wads into streams and creeks. The result? Restored habitat and spawning grounds for native fish runs.


Replacing wood and rock structures in streams is a reversal of past practices of cleaning logs out of streams. For years, forest managers, with the best of intentions, believed they were doing the right thing by pulling out old logs that had fallen into streams after logging had taken place. Now, current research shows that these fallen logs created and supported fish habitat by slowing the flow of the stream, helping to create deep, cool pools and gravel beds that the fish use for spawning.


While Columbia places the logs in the summer, winter is when things finally settle into place. High water levels move the logs into their more natural positions, forming small debris dams. Single logs and boulders help to change current direction, allowing for the formation of gravel beds. The process is generally a slow procedure, often taking years for the streams to reach their original state. However, streams in northern Washington where work was done in 1991 and 1992 by our Vertols, are now showing signs of recovery in terms of fish populations.



Environmentally Sensitive Logging Operations

Columbia Helicopters yards more timber volume each year than any other helicopter logging company.

Ideal Fleet of Helicopters

Columbia's logging machine, the Columbia Vertol 107-II is an ideal external load helicopter. The 107-II has a working lift capacity of 10,500 pounds. This lift capacity enables Columbia to operate within a wide range of timber size and still deliver logs to mill specifications.

Columbia's logging fleet is maintained to the highest standards by a work force of maintenance technicians located at various fleet locations and at the maintenance facility in Aurora, Oregon.

Flight Crew Expertise

Columbia's flight crews are among the most experienced and the best in the world at long-line work. They are able to move heavy loads of logs at the end of lines up to 350 feet long with speed and precision. Columbia's pilots have acquired an enviable safety record, proving they take good care of both the equipment in the air and the loggers on the ground.


Environmentally Sound Logging

While Columbia's innovative helicopter logging methods have always attracted international attention, it has been the company's selective logging that has garnered the greatest attention in the last few years. Selective logging is a process where only a portion of the available timber is removed from a logging site. Removing this timber, very often trees that are already dead or diseased, allows the remaining timber to thrive on the additional resources of sunlight, water, and soil nutrients. Additionally, the remaining stand of timber appears untouched to passers-by, meaning this method is particularly effective in high population areas. Two such logging projects, one near Mount Hood in Oregon and another near Juneau, Alaska, have received extensive praise for the aesthetically pleasing results

In addition to Columbia's selective logging techniques, helilogging is environmentally friendly in other ways. First, since the logs are lifted from the ground, there is little of the soil erosion that is typical of conventional logging methods. Second, in many cases the helicopter is able to use existing roads and landings, meaning no roads need to be built into the area to be logged. This helps to reduce the circumstances resulting in landslides and road washouts.


Logging Department Personnel

Columbia's logging department is staffed by professional forest engineers. They travel worldwide on timber appraisals involving helilogging and work closely with Columbia's project managers in the field on logging jobs. The people who make up this team have an average of over 10 years experience in the helicopter logging business. Columbia's logging crews are trained to know log scaling procedures, log weights, defect and grade. They maximize productivity in a constantly changing environment. Columbia has been doing its own cutting for years. A qualified bullbuck supervises cutters. Logs are carefully manufactured for optimum mill specifications while keeping within maximum helicopter weight limits. Columbia prides itself on the finished product that goes to the mill.


Helilogging is done primarily in the following areas:


  1. Areas previously considered uneconomical to log because of road building costs.
  2. Inaccessible areas.
  3. Areas of catastrophic damage: fire, disease, blowdown, etc.
  4. Environmentally sensitive areas:
    1. streamside management areas.
    2. wildlife management areas.
    3. visual corridors.
    4. areas of high recreational use.
    5. unstable soil areas.


With increasing pressure on all federal lands to provide recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and timber, helilogging offers the ideal compromise. Valuable timber can be removed from the forest while preserving the unique character of the area.