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The Boom Era
Tugboats at Cascades
One of the tugboats stationed at Cascades in 1990.

After the construction of the Paugan, Farmer's Rapid, and Chelsea dams, log booms (also known as sacks) had to be towed downstream through the slowmoving backwaters of the dams.

This was first done by small, heavy, steampowered boats known as alligators which had powerful winches. The boat would be attached to a strong mooring point, like large trees or rocks. A long cable would then be attached to a sack of logs. The boat would then reel in the logs, they would be anchored, the boat would move another cable length downstream, and the process would continue.

A fleet of tugs
A fleet of tugs out with the booms in the 1940s.

Reliable diesel power meant the introduction of the tugboats which were in use until the end of the river drive. Thick hulls, powerful winches and large slow turning propellors caged in steel were the unique features to these relatively small workhorses.

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