SEQUIM, Washington –
“One-stop shop.” That is the best description of Bekkevar Logging and Trucking, said Ole Bekkevar, vice president of the company.
Ole’s father started Bekkevar Logging 42 years ago. “(My) father established the company with a log truck and soon after grew to a ground-base logging side with shovels, skidders, hand-chasers, and hand-fallers,” said Ole. The company’s operations were mechanized later with the addition of a feller buncher and a processor.
Today, Bekkevar Logging does it all. “Start to finish, we can handle everything from layout, timber marketing, road building, timber harvesting, trucking and fabrication,” explained Ole.
Among the timber harvesting services Bekkevar Logging offers are cut-to-length thinning, tower logging and ground-base logging. Cut-to-length logging operations were added in 2013.
The cut-to-length operations are equipped with two Ponsse eight-wheel harvesters, a Ponsse Scorpion King and a Ponsse Bear. The Ponsse Scorpion King was purchased first in 2016.
“We tried three different harvesters all at the same time on the same job to get a good comparison,” said Ole. “We tried the machines and their product support. It was fairly easy to see what was the best for our application.”
Expectations for the Ponsse harvesters have been met. “They are reliable, durable and productive machines,” said Ole. “There is a lot of technology built into the machines, from the ergonomics and the operator comforts to computer software. They’re very accurate on measuring and utilizing logs.”
Bekkevar Logging purchased the two Ponsse harvesters from Ponsse North America in Coburg, Oregon. Ponsse North America Inc. is headquartered in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Ponsse and its manufacturing operations are based in Finland; the company markets its cut-to-length logging equipment around the world.
The Bear is the largest and most powerful harvester offered by Ponsse, designed and built for large timber. It combines power with advanced modern technology and operator-based ergonomics for a productive harvester that can handle challenging conditions and stands of large trees. It features the most powerful engine, sturdiest crane, two large hydraulic pumps, and choice of large harvester heads. Despite being so powerful, the Bear is also economical to operate because it offers excellent fuel economy with long service intervals and speedy maintenance.
The Ponsse Scorpion King, which has won awards for design and technological innovation, is Ponsse’s best-selling harvester in many market areas. The fork boom provides an unobstructed view for the operator because the crane does not block sight in any direction.
(For more information on Ponsse cut-to-length timber harvesting and forwarding machines, visit www.ponsse.com or call its North American headquarters in Rhindelander, Wisconsin, at (715) 369-4833.)
Paired with the Ponsse harvesters on Bekkevar’s cut-to-length jobs are a Valmet forwarder and a Doosan 225 loading shovel.
The Ponsse Bear and the Ponsse Scorpion King can be paired with a wide range of Ponsse harvester heads to get an exact match with the diameter of trees, species, and type of felling. In the case of Bekkevar Logging, the Ponsse Bear is equipped with a Ponsse H8 harvester head, and the Ponsse Scorpion King has a Ponsse H7 head. Ponsse even offers the H7EUCA head, which debarks logs during processing, as a choice on the Scorpion King and certain other harvester models, such as the Ergo; it is made for harvesting eucalyptus trees.
Bekkevar Logging has 33 employees and is based in Sequim, which is located in northwest Washington, 60-plus miles from Seattle across Puget Sound and near the coast and on the edge of Olympic National Park. The community, part of Clallam County, has a population of 6,600. The company usually works within a 90-minute drive of Sequim. The region’s forests contain Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, spruce, silver spruce, alder, and maple, among others.
“We work on all ownerships, from private small landowners 15 acres and larger (to) tree farms, state and federal lands,” said Ole. “We have good working relationships with some local mills – Interfor and Murphy Veneer.”
Ole keeps a check on local timber sales in nearby counties. And he is always on the lookout for building new relationships with mills and landowners.
Cut-to-length logging is not the norm in the Pacific Northwest. The closest other company that does cut-to-length is more than an hour away, according to Ole.
“We filled the niche (in our area) when we realized that landowners see the benefits of (cut-to-length) and (are) willing to pay for it,” said Ole. “In the end you get a better service and product from cut-to-length because it’s all about what is remaining for the future harvest.”
The goal of Bekkevar Logging and Trucking is to help customers capture the most value from every acre. And to do so in a way that treads gently on the land. Ponsse equipment provides a big boost to the effort.
The Ponsse Bear and the Ponsse Scorpion King meet Ole’s high expectations that cut-to-length should “maximize utilization of all the timber” and minimize the impact on the ground and residual stand. “The machines are nimble and designed to fit in tight stands and conditions,” said Ole.
Paired with a forwarder, the Ponsse machines also minimize the trips in and out of the woods, said Ole. Limbs and tops are used to line paths for the machines. “All the brush is left in the woods to help with nutrients and ground disturbance,” said Ole.
The shovel logging component of Bekkevar depends on two Madill 3800 shovels with T-Mar grapples. “They have the long reach and power to be extremely productive,” said Ole.
“We use the 3800s to yard to Komatsu 300 processors with Waratah 624 processers and load with either a Doosan 300 and-or a Cat 325 shovel,” explained Ole. “We also have two towers, a 50-foot 071 Madill for thinning and medium-span small landing settings. We use a 90-foot BU-84 Skagit for longer span yards and larger settings.”
Both towers are paired with Boman carriages. “Typically, we run Ludwig electric chokers on the 071 Madill,” said Ole. “The chokers are safe, fast and efficient when yarding smaller turn sizes. When yarding with more than three chokers, they tend to get hung up in the turn, which creates a safety issue with runaway logs, so we run standard 9/16-inch, 20-foot long chokers with an eye and use a hook on the Boman carriages.”
“We occasionally use chainsaws on all of our sides to either clean up a log or notch a stump,” said Ole. “We subcontract hand felling to a few companies.”
Ole credits his father with putting Bekkevar Logging on a solid foundation before he and his brother, Nelson, became involved. “The business was well established and successful,” he said. We had a great opportunity to take it to the next level.” The brothers diversified the business to meet the needs of more customers.
Ole and Nelson had quite a bit of experience before taking the lead of the company. “Growing up in the timber industry, we fell right into it – working summers in high school, running equipment and washing log trucks throughout the year.”
Nelson went to work for Bekkevar Logging in 2005, directly out of high school. Ole joined the company in 2008 after earning a degree in natural resources management and water quality.
We all remember the economic downturn of 2009-10, which Ole credits with strengthening Bekkevar Logging. “It was a tough time to get into the business because of the economy,” he said. “But looking under every rock for work, it taught us what it takes to move forward.”
Ponsse cut-to-length logging machines have been a good fit for the company. “We take pride in our employees and equipment, and it shows in our quality work,” said Ole. Having the right tools for the job is important to achieve the desired outcome, he noted.
Bekkevar Logging is a member of the Washington Contract Loggers Association and part of the Loggers Safety Initiative. The company is committed to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative with many SFI-certified employees. Many employees are Master Logger certified, too.
Ole is very happy with the profession he chose. At one point, his parents operated a log yard, but he has always worked in timber harvesting. “I enjoy working outdoors with good people,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge of juggling the day-to-day operations, which makes things entertaining and ever-changing.”
Now the father of two young children, Ole sets his non-work-related priorities around them. “(They) have brought light to the table that I didn’t know existed, so family time is top of the list. Otherwise you’ll find me riding or racing dirt bikes.”
Bekkevar Logging is a forward-looking company, ready to change and adapt. “We’re always looking for more opportunities to grow and expand in the timber industry – to better take care of our sustainable, natural renewable resources,” said Ole.