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A banking ground was the frozen surface of the headwaters of a river or stream, which with spring floods, would start logs downstream. The banking ground was dammed to accumulate water and to control the release of logs in the spring. When the iced area was full, additional loads of logs were dumped onto roll banks - level areas above the banking ground - from which logs were rolled into the water.

In the spring, after the ice melt, logs started downstream through the sluicegate of the dam. Logs were gathered into a boom - a series of logs linked together by ropes or chains - to keep them from drifting away from the sluicegate. Men on a raft or in a boat turned a winch that kept the boom slowly pushing the logs toward the sluicegate, a process called kedging.

Click on the image to see a larger versionOnce the logs passed through the sluicegates, they floated downriver to sawmills or pulpmills, where they were identified and sorted according to the owners' marks.

It was the job of the river driver, armed with peavy and pike pole, to keep logs moving downstream. Some drivers stood watch at bends in the banks or on bars or islands to keep logs from clustering, while others followed the drive, clearing the shores.

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