Wet weather stalls Vt. loggers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Wet weather stalls Vt. loggers

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WATERBURY, Vt. -

Douglas Edwards and his crew cut trees last winter in Waterbury, but he's still waiting to get them out to the mill.

"It's so wet, you get in the woods and when you do, you make a pretty good mess," the logger said.

Extra mess stacks up costs, as does continuing to wait following rain earlier this week. More is forecast to come. An unseasonably warm and sun-soaked April allowed Edwards to move heavy machinery in by the end of the month. But May brought rain and June even more, chopping the number of workdays in half.

"We did one job here we should have been in and out of in four days, and it took us two and a half weeks," Edwards said.

Edwards and his crew cut trenches Tuesday in an attempt to keep the near-constant rain from turning the job site into a mud bog, but it didn't work.

"The trails are open. Aside from a couple washouts remaining from Irene, everything's up and running," said Will Wiquist of the Green Mountain Club.

Wiquist says only experts should head out on anything longer than a short day-hike though. He says wet weather isn't degrading trails, but it is dissolving local foot-traffic.

"We got a lot of tourists stopping by," Wiquist said. "I'd love more Vermonters to pop in, but I think the tourists plan their vacations way in advance. We're still seeing lots of influx."

Edwards says until the ground dries, his employees will be doing machine maintenance. But to maintain his business, he'll need Mother Nature to cooperate eventually.

Edwards says given good weather, his company can typically haul out 30 loads a week.

Foresters say Vermont's logging industry puts out about 170-million board feet a year. Every 1,000 feet can fetch between a $200 and $1,400.

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