SUTHERLIN. Oregon – Steep slopes and tall timber typify the kind of forests where L&L Inc. performs cut-to-length logging operations. Challenging, yes, but all doable with good planning and the right equipment.
Terry Mann, one of the members of the family that owns L&L, talked with TimberLine about the company. “L&L approaches every job with a focus on sustainability, he said. The company’s slogan is, ‘Responsible forestry today, healthy forests for the future.’”
L&L was established by Louis and Lori Mann, Terry’s parents, in 1986, the year Terry was born. Today, Louis and Lori and their two sons, Terry and Ted, continue to own and operate the business. Lori handles all the company’s administrative tasks.
Ponsse equipment got L&L going with a transition to cut-to-length logging. That was in
2004 when L&L purchased its first two Ponsse machines, an Ergo harvester and a Buffalo forwarder. Today the company is equipped with Ponsse machines and a Tigercat wheel harvester.
The decision to convert to cut-to-length logging and equipment was not a simple matter. The Manns were accustomed to tree-length logging of Douglas fir. None of the equipment dealers in the region offered cut-to-length machines at the time. Louis was way ahead of them.
“My dad had been thinking about [the transition] for some time,” said Terry. Louis went to Finland in 2001 to see firsthand how cut-to-length logging was performed with Timberjack equipment. (At the time, Timberjack was a John Deere subsidiary, and the machines were manufactured in Finland.)
Ultimately the decision to convert to cut-to-length in 2004 led the Mann family to Ponsse, which is based in Finland. Actually, a church member suggested they contact Pekka Ruuskanen, president and CEO of Ponsse North America in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
Pekka took it from there. He got Louis and Terry to Minnesota to see Ponsse equipment demonstrated in action. It was the beginning of an enduring relationship with Pekka, which the Manns continue to value.
Cut-to-length machines and timber harvesting operations are no longer a rarity in the Pacific Northwest. Machines like the 2020 Ponsse Ergo that can cut and process large trees in challenging terrain make it possible. The Ponsse H8 harvester attachment on the Ergo is the largest and most powerful head that can be paired with the wheel-based carrier.
Ted operates a Ponsse Ergo harvester with a Ponsse H8 harvester attachment and C5 crane. The machine was purchased new in 2020. The Manns are sold on the Ponsse H8 harvester attachment. While Ted operates the Ponsse Ergo, Terry operates a Tigercat 1165 wheel harvester that also is equipped with a Ponsse H8 head. The Manns purchased the
Tigercat harvester new last year from Triad Machinery in Coburg, Oregon.
“When L&L purchased the Tigercat 1165 harvester, it was the first machine of its kind on the West Coast,” said Terry. Tigercat did not immediately offer its own harvester head for the carrier because it was still in development; Tigercat subsequently introduced the 534 attachment for the 1165 harvester.
Terry was glad he could get the Ponsse H8 head mounted on the Tigercat since the Manns already had experience with the attachment. Having the same Ponsse H8 attachments makes things a little easier in terms of maintenance and ordering parts.
Terry had some good things to say about the Tigercat 1165 wheel harvester. “The Tigercat machine has excellent “leveling capabilities, the most reach in that size class, and the most horsepower in that size class,” he said.
The Tigercat 1165 is used “on real steep slopes,” said Terry. How steep? “I’ve operated it safely with an 80% slope (incline) with a tether system,” he said.
The tether system came from Ecoforst, a company headquartered in Austria with a large presence throughout Europe. Before purchasing an Ecoforst T-Winch 10.1 tether assist, the Manns did their due diligence. “We actually flew to Germany and investigated,” said Terry. The Ecoforst T-Winch makes it possible to tether the Tigercat on the steep slopes.
Terry is very happy with the Tigercat 1165 wheel harvester and the way it has performed. “It’s a very good machine,” he said. The staff at Triad Machinery have been “really good to work with,” he added.
L&L is equipped with four forwarders – all Ponsse Buffalo machines. They range in model year from 2012 to 2021.
Until recently, Ted had been handling the trucking for L&L. However, the company is so busy that contract haulers now do the trucking so that Ted can run a forwarder.
Besides the four members of the Mann family, L&L has two employees, and plans are in the works to hire more.
L&L contracts to harvest timber that has been purchased by mills in the region. The Manns also buy timber from private landowners and merchandise the wood they harvest.
Douglas fir is the dominant species in the region. The abundant forest resources provide wood for mills that produce lumber, plywood, and oriented strand board. L&L harvests timber for some well-known names in the forest products industry, including Southport Lumber, Seneca Sawmill, and Roseburg Forest Products.
Home base for L&L is Sutherlin in southwest Oregon, a town of about 9,000 people roughly 60 miles south of Eugene. Most logging jobs are within a 100-mile radius of Sutherlin, which is on the Western edge of the Cascade Mountain Range. The Cascades support some of the richest forests in the nation.
The Manns originally were from Philipsburg, Montana. They decided to relocate to Oregon in 2011 after traveling to Oregon to do a job.
When the Manns did tree-length logging in the past, the timber was felled by hand with chainsaws and skidded to a landing. Terry preferred Stihl chainsaws while Ted liked Husqvarna. They still have the same preferences although chainsaws are rarely needed.
Louis worked for another logging contractor in Montana before starting his own business. He negotiated with his employer to buy a Clark skidder by working off the purchase price. “My dad just had the drive and wanted to work for himself,” said Terry.
“Dad is passionate about the industry,” said Terry. So are the sons.
Father and two sons all own property and acreage close together. The company has about 8 acres for a shop and room to store equipment.
The company’s focus is mainly select cuts and thinning. However, with storm and fire damage to forests in recent years, L&L has been drawn into some necessary clearcutting. Jobs for small landowners usually come to L&L via word-of-mouth referrals.
The agile Ponsse Ergo and nimble Tigercat 1165 enable the company to maneuver in tight spaces. And the rubber tires on both machines reduce the impact on the forest floor.
Terry did not originally plan to join his family in logging. He studied at Frontier School of the Bible in LaGrange, Wyoming. His plan was to become a pastor.
While attending the school, Terry worked at a sugar factory. He also earned money as a contractor by running a processor in the yard at a lumber mill. Still, his plan was to be a pastor.
Terry changed course when his father needed help. He decided that the “world’s got enough pastors” and what it needs is people to “be authentic about faith.” Certain that he could work in the family’s logging business and live his faith, Terry joined L&L. “I went back to the woods – my calling,” he said.
Terry realized his calling included both logging and ministry in 2013. “I started a Facebook page,” he said. “I posted a devotional each day.” He wanted to encourage other loggers to live their faith.
The initiative that Terry started nine years ago is now the Fellowship of Christian Loggers (FCL), a ministry “dedicated to evangelism and discipleship of men and women involved with the timber industry.” FCL has a website (www.Christianloggers.org). The organization is run by “a good team” that functions as a “board of directors,” explained Terry. Through FCL, men and women are encouraged to “live their faith out.”
Being part of FCL is a natural complement to the philosophy that guides L&L. “We have a real, robust Christian and world-life view, a biblical view that guides us,” said Terry. “We strive for excellence and integrity in everything we do.”
L&L does not own timberland at present, but Terry would like to get into land ownership in the future.
At age 35, Terry is very happy with the path he is on. “We really enjoy providing a good place to work for our team. This is the best place in the world to grow Douglas fir.”
Terry marvels at the speed with which Douglas fir grows and the many applications for the lumber and plywood made from it – aircraft, boats, and building construction.
Terry and his family are involved in their local church. “We like hanging out with friends, barbecuing, and enjoying life,” said Terry. The family also welcomes taking a yearly trip together.