Past & Present

Gerald and Helper, First Truck, 1954

Gerald Pelletier, who was a farmer, started Gerald Pelletier, Inc.SM, which is an affiliate of Pelletier Brothers, IncSM today, after supplementing the family income from as early as the 1950s by hauling logs. Gerald Pelletier, Inc. became incorporated in 1976 and in 1989 took over a wood harvesting operation, which also involved road construction. As each of his sons reached their mid teens, Gerald put them behind the wheel of a truck and when each son came to work in the business, Gerald added another truck to his fleet.

First Experimental Double Trailer

Three of the brothers chose to serve their country but when they returned from the Army and the National Guard, they also joined the business and it was not long before Gerald had seven trucks for seven brothers. Pelletier Brothers, Inc. was incorporated in 1994.

Gerald's First Tree-Length Truck, 1968

In the early 1990's, Great Northern Paper started selling its logging camps to its contractors. By purchasing camps, the Pelletier's began providing services from stump to mill, like building roads and bridges, harvesting lumber and bringing it roadside and transporting it to mills and stockyards.

Gerald Preparing Road Material

The logging season starts in mid-June and continues nearly nonstop with a crew of 35 or more staying at the logging camps and staffing the operations from Monday through Friday in 12-hour shifts until mid-March when soft road conditions usually force a break.

Gerald Loading Dump Truck

Before the Pelletier's enter the woods, the sections are mapped out by foresters who mark the sections to be harvested. The Pelletier's are all certified loggers and trained in proper harvesting of the woods.

Processor and Forwarder in Forest

The Pelletier's were the first to use a Cut-To-Length (CTL) System, designed to custom cut the trees to length for a specific order to get the most value out of the tree.

The CTL System is run by a computer and fells the tree, delimbs it on the spot and processes the tree to correct lengths, then sorts the wood by species. The computer can also tell diameter, length and topping size of the tree.

The final part of the system is the forwarder which hauls the sorted logs to the roadside, rather than using a grapple skidder, creating less of a disturbance in the yard.

1270 Processor

The CTL system is used for specialty work in sensitive areas because it leaves a protective forest floor, doing less damage to the woods. Though they started with one CTL system in the early 1990's, they now have up to five in operation at any one time.

The three machine system operates in stages: The feller-buncher drops the trees in the woods to be picked up by the grapple skidder and brought out to roadside.

Besides the CTL system, a combination of traditional machinery is also used to harvest trees consisting of three machines; the feller-buncher, the grapple-skidder, and the delimber. These three machines operate as one system to harvest and transport wood and the company has up to seven of these systems operating at any one time.

Rottine Forwarder

The three machine system operates in stages: The feller-buncher drops the trees in the woods to be picked up by the grapple skidder and brought out to roadside.

Feller-Buncher Felling Tree

Then the trees are delimbed, sorted and stacked by the delimber and piled in the roadside yards. A crane will then load the sorted and stacked wood onto the trucks that deliver to the mills or stockyards.

Grapple Skidder Yarding Tree

The company harvests 150,000 cord of wood a year (a cord weighs 4,500 pounds) of mainly spruce and fir for pulp for paper mills, as well as high-grade lumber for other uses.

Truck with Triple Trailer

Pelletier runs a few double trailers, the combined weight of those units being 400,000 pounds, occasionally also hauling a triple trailer.

Building Roads in the Woods

In order to operate in the wilderness, the Pelletier's needed to create roads, build bridges and install culverts for drainage, plus continue to maintain roads in all seasons to support trucks of enormous weight containing up to 80 cord of wood per load. As these are the privately owned roads of large land owners and land managers, year round maintenance is crucial as they have to be able to support the immense weight of the trucks that are not subject to the weight limits of public roads.

Dozers Used to Build Roads

There is a full maintenance shop at each base of operation, with the main shop on the Golden Road in Millinocket, and service trucks going between job sites to do repairs right in the field.

Servicing the Excavator

Constant radio communication between trucks and bases reduces the vast wilderness to an interconnected community that constantly communicates information and emergencies, as well as daily news.

Grader in Winter

Gerald Pelletier passed away in April of 2002, leaving Rudy Pelletier, longest full time employee, as co-owner of Gerald Pelletier, Inc and Pelletier Brothers, Inc., with brother Eldon.

Double Trailers in the Winter Month

The company hires up to as many as 100 employees, including subcontractors, but there is always a brother or a third generation family member who is a certified logger overseeing many of their operations.

American Loggers visit Corinna corn maze made in their honor

The Pelletier family recently made it down to Corinna to check out the corn maze at Thunder Road Farm.  Read the story at the Bangor Daily News!