Volunteers raise a new spar tree at McLean Mill In Port Alberni the old-fashioned way.

New spar tree raised using old school method

A new spar tree was raised at McLean Mill, and it replaces the old one which rotted and was unsafe.

Jack James has raised so many spar trees in his 50-year logging career, that the joke is he can do it in his sleep.

But that didn’t lessen the excitement on Sunday as James led a volunteer effort to raise a new 100-foot spar tree at McLean Mill National Historic Site.

The spar tree is a focal point of the steam donkey logging demonstration at the mill.

The pole raised in April 2009 had rotted in the centre, so it was cut down and a “new” tree—about 172 years old—was donated by Todd Thompson. James organized the raising, which was a learning experience for many of the volunteers, he said.

“It’s been more than 40 years since I raised one. It was around 1960,” James said.

Aaron Thom was to rig the top of the spar tree on Wednesday. The heel boom will need to be assembled, then all the equipment will be moved back into place before the first demo with the new spar.

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