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Forest friendly Loggers use horses to take worst trees, leave best

By Don Del Rosso - Staff Writer
The Fauquier Citizen
Warrenton, Virginia
March 31, 2005

A roaring chainsaw echoes through the 10-acre stand of trees.

Sawdust flies from the base of a 20-foot-plus tall tree at Over the Grass Farm off Rockhill Mill Road between Marshall and Middleburg.

Chad Vogel cuts off the noisy machine.

He lifts the visor of his orange logger's helmet and takes a deep breath.

Hands pressed against the severed trunk, Mr. Vogel digs his boots into loose, rich soil, leans hard against the tree and tips it over.

The Fauquier Citizen Photo/Chris Moorhead

Chad Vogel and his team typically can harvest 20 to 25 trees per day - far fewer than loggers using heavy machinery.

Mr. Vogel, 25, fells three or four more similarly sized trees, clearing a path to a 3,000-pound log he'd cut the other day.

He pounds a hook-shaped spike called a "grab" into the huge log.

Mr. Vogel recently agreed to give a friend some firewood in exchange for fresh vegetables, he says.

"We're basically scraping by," says Mr. Rutledge, a 30-year veteran of horse logging. "The materials we're extracting is of low value. There's a lot of love in what we're doing."

Long hours. Physically demanding. Skimpy wages.


Mr. Vogel acknowledges there are easier ways to make a living.

"I like being outdoors, the physical labor, being good and tired at the end of the day," he says of horse logging.

He pauses and smiles.

"I guess I could get that digging ditches. But there's a pride in the work and satisfaction in knowing I'm doing something good for the environment."

You may contact Don Del Rosso at 347-5522, extension 240, or by e-mail at