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Job Descriptions > Trucking


These jobs involve driving vehicles to & from at forest jobsites engaged in hauling forest products, heavy equipment and construction materials.

Moving renewable wood products from forest to market involves a tremendous amount of transportation—primarily trucking by 18-wheel semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles. The forest product truck “driver” is responsible for the safe and efficient transport of wood products, and the machinery used to harvest and manage the forest. The driver runs a heavy truck, which is purpose-built to accomplish a specialized heavy-hauling task—such as logs, wood chips, heavy equipment, crushed rock, lumber, hogg fuel, water, soil & rock, or fire equipment.

The truck driver in the forest sector is much more than just a highway driver, because of the ever-changing and unique payloads hauled over diverse road conditions—from mountainous forests to highways. A forest industry driver has many load options, many types of trucks, and each driving assignment demands a variety of responsibilities and skills. This truck driver often works independently, yet frequently coordinates closely with other workers during loading and unloading of forest products or machinery. The driver must safely deliver each unique truckload traversing narrow and winding mountain roads, crowded highways, changing weather and surface conditions, and destinations that change daily. Every day offers driving adventures and challenges.

Each driving assignment demands specific skills in operation and safe performance. The operator spends much of their day inside an enclosed climate-controlled truck cab, at the automated controls that direct the truck’s movements. However, the driver is also responsible for the safe and accurate loading, unloading and securement of the truck’s cargo. Some loads are over-dimensional, and require special arrangements, securement, routes and precautions. The driver is typically responsible for their own machine basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs.

Today’s forest management tasks involve so many different modern mechanized processes, many which utilize heavy equipment tailored to safe & efficient production. There are different machines designed to fall standing trees, other machines to cut (buck) and delimb them into desired log lengths, or other machines to move trees from the stump to the roadside landing—often on steep hills and over long distances. At the road, the many log types are processed, sorted and loaded on trucks for transport to different mills. An there are many more machines designed to maintain trees and roads, as well a construct the forest roads needed to manage the forest.

All drivers in these highly-sought jobs receive ample job-tailored safety and drivers training, due to the demanding load conditions and many roadway hazards. Becoming a proficient commercial driver takes a tremendous amount of skill and experience, often learned by working your way up-the-ladder in related jobs and driving smaller trucks or vehicles. Most truck driving jobs—those hauling over 26,000 lbs gross weight—have a Commercial Drivers License prerequisite and associated requirements, such as drug testing. Some drivers learned their trade by attending a truck driver’s school; others started in entry-level jobs and learned from other experienced drivers.

Today’s modern trucks are purpose-built with the latest technology, including: on-board electronic scales, computer diagnostics, GPS route finders, ergonomic-designed operator cabs, computer monitors, state-of-the-art diesel power systems, sophisticated transmission and braking, radio/cell dispatching, and CB radio-communication.


CHIP VAN DRIVER
Drives a “chip van truck” to transport wood chips or ground-up hogg fuel between forest product mills or from remote forest locations. Truck usually travels highways, but when hauling chips from the forest, may also travel on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Wood chips are loaded onto this truck from an overhead hopper at the timber mill, or at a forested roadside by a chipper machine conveyor or front-end loader machine. The driver operates this heavy truck—which is an 18-wheel semi tractor, with an open-topped van-type trailer. The diesel-powered, “chip van” truck and its 42 foot-long, walled trailer are capable of hauling gross vehicle weight load of typically 80,000 lbs, depending on axle configuration. Driver works independently to locate routes, operate the truck on highways and logging roads, and to safely load and deliver chips. Driver assures that the loaded trailer is within legal weight standards and that the load is safely configured. The driver sits in a climate-controlled cab, but must be out of the cab to conduct load covering, inspections and maintenance. Driver constantly communicates safe loading activities and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs. Requires special safety gear, climbing off & onto the truck.

Prior Experience: Commercial Drivers License; work as a highway truck driver; preferred previous experience as operator of other forestry equipment, heavy equipment mechanical repairs, operating farm machinery or heavy equipment; learn from work with experienced CDL-licensed truck driver; demonstrated safe chip truck driver performance; written truck driver handbooks and service guides; on-the-job-training.

DUMP TRUCK & TRAILER DRIVER
Drives a “dump truck” to transport rock and soil materials between forest construction jobsites, or to haul crushed rock from rock quarries to forest road projects. This truck, and its open-topped cargo box, can easily unload materials with its hydraulic-lift dump box. Dump truck may also pull a heavy-duty flatbed trailer that’s loaded with machinery or mid-sized equipment. Materials are loaded onto this truck’s rear-mounted box by a front-end loader machine, excavator or log loader. Dump truck travels on both highways and on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. The driver operates this heavy truck—which is often a 10-wheeled diesel-powered truck, capable of hauling gross vehicle weight load of typically 50,000 lbs, depending on axle configuration. Driver works independently to locate routes, operate the truck on logging roads and highways, to safely deliver and unload construction rock, and pull and load the trailer. Trailer cargo could include a backhoe machine, culverts, skyline carriage, logging rigging, or other construction materials. Driver assures that each load is safely secured and within legal weight standards, if operating on public roads. The driver sits in a climate-controlled cab, but must be out of the cab to conduct inspections and maintenance. Driver constantly communicates safe loading activities and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs.

Prior Experience: Commercial Drivers License; work as a log truck driver; preferred previous experience as a highway truck driver and operator of other heavy/farm equipment, and mechanical repairs; learn from work with experienced CDL-licensed truck driver; demonstrated safe lowboy truck driver performance; written truck driver handbooks and service guides; on-the-job-training.

FIRE ENGINE / WATER TENDER DRIVER
Drives a “fire engine” or “water tender” truck, which are heavy vehicles equipped with a large water tank and pumps—intended for delivering and pumping water at forest jobsites. The fire engine is designed to carry a full compliment of supplies for forest firefighting, such as water, pumps, hose, tools, water tanks, safety supplies and food. The water tender is a larger truck with a large water tank designed to deliver greater water volumes for either forest road construction, road maintenance or firefighting. This fire engine may be under or over 26,000 lb gross vehicle weight; while the tender truck is over this weight and requires a Commercial Drivers License. Truck travels on both highways and on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Commonly, the driver is accompanied by another forestry crew person to assist with operations at the jobsite. Driver works to safely deliver and utilize the water for the project purpose, such as firefighting or road dust abatement. The driver sits in a cab, but must often be out of the cab for drafting water, pump & hose operations, tool-work with the water, and maintenance. Driver communicates safe work activities and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs. Requires special safety clothing, climbing off & onto the truck, and walking on sloping forest terrain.

Prior Experience: Work driving other trucks or heavy equipment; Drivers License; large truck requires Commercial Drivers License; preferred previous experience as logging or forestry crew person, operating other forestry or farm equipment; learn from work with experienced fire engine/water tender driver; demonstrated safe fire engine & service performance; written operator handbooks and fire truck service guides; on-the-job-training.

LOG TRUCK DRIVER
Drives a “long-log truck” to transport logs from remote forest locations to lumber mills. Truck travels highways as well as unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Logs are loaded onto this truck by another log loader machine, located at the forested roadside. The driver operates a purpose-built, heavy log truck—which is an 18-wheel semi tractor with removable trailer with log bunks & racks. The diesel-powered, “long-log” truck and its log trailer are capable of hauling logs up to 80 feet in length, although 42 foot logs are the common load length. The gross vehicle weight load is typically 80,000 lbs, depending on axle configuration. Driver works independently to locate routes, operate the truck on logging roads and highways, and to safely load and deliver logs. Driver assures that the loaded trailer is within legal weight standards and that the load is safely configured. The driver sits in a climate-controlled cab, but must be out of the cab to conduct load securement, inspections and maintenance. Driver constantly communicates safe loading activities and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs. Requires special safety gear, climbing off & onto the truck.

Prior Experience: Commercial Drivers License; work as truck driver on highways; preferred previous experience as operator of other forestry equipment, heavy equipment mechanical repairs, operating farm machinery or heavy equipment; learn from work with experienced log truck driver; demonstrated safe log truck driver performance; written log truck driver handbooks and service guides; on-the-job-training.

LOWBOY (Heavy Haul) DRIVER
Drives a “lowboy truck” to transport heavy equipment or machinery between forest jobsites, or to haul equipment between remote forest locations and the equipment repair shop in town. The lowboy truck, and its long, low-slung flat trailer, travels on both highways and on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Heavy equipment is carefully moved onto the low-slung trailer, driven by its machine operator. The truck driver operates this heavy truck—which is an 18-wheel semi tractor, with its flat trailer. The diesel-powered, “lowboy” truck and its 42 foot-long, flatbed trailer are capable of hauling gross vehicle weight load of typically 80,000 lbs, depending on axle configuration. Driver works independently to locate routes, operate the truck on logging roads and highways, and to safely load and deliver large machines. Driver assures that each different machine is safely loaded and properly secured to the trailer, is within legal weight standards, and is legally permitted if over-dimensional. The driver sits in a climate-controlled cab, but must be out of the cab to conduct loading, securement, inspections and maintenance. Driver constantly communicates safe loading, pilot car instructions, and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs.

Prior Experience: Commercial Drivers License; work as a log truck driver; preferred previous experience as a highway truck driver and operator of other heavy/farm equipment, and mechanical repairs; learn from work with experienced CDL-licensed truck driver; demonstrated safe lowboy truck driver performance; written truck driver handbooks and service guides; on-the-job-training.

OFF-HIGHWAY END DUMP DRIVER
Drives an “off-highway truck” to transport rock, logging debris, or earth materials between forest construction jobsites, or to haul crushed rock from rock quarries to forest road projects. This truck is not a highway legal vehicle; it is specifically-designed with an open-topped cargo box—or trailer—to haul large loads heavier than legal limits. It can easily unload materials with its hydraulic-lift dump box. Materials are loaded onto this truck’s rear-mounted box by a front-end loader machine, excavator or log loader. An off-highway truck is used on construction projects, and it travels only on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Driver works to safely deliver and unload construction rock. The driver sits in a cab, but must be out of the cab to conduct inspections and maintenance. Driver constantly communicates safe loading activities and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs. Requires special safety clothing, climbing off & onto the truck, and some walking on sloping forest terrain.

Prior Experience: Work as operator of skidder, cat, farm machinery, or other heavy equipment; preferred previous experience operating other forestry equipment; learn from work with experienced end-dump operator; demonstrated safe equipment & service performance; written operator handbooks and machine service guides; on-the-job-training.

PILOT CAR DRIVER
Drives a “pilot car” vehicle, which drives on the highway ahead of over-sized truckload, warning oncoming traffic using with flashing lights/signs. The pilot car typically is a pickup truck or SUV that leads a truck loaded with very large heavy equipment. Over-dimensional loads, such as a lowboy truck pulling heavy equipment, or a log truck with extra-long utility poles/logs, legally may require a pilot car to safely warn other traffic of an oncoming truckload that’s unusually wide, long or heavy. Driver must locate routes, operate vehicle on logging roads and highways, and to safely guide over-dimensional truck drivers. Pilot car driver assures that the loaded truck travels in a legal manner and that traffic is properly warned of the over-size hazard. The driver sits in a climate-controlled cab, but must be out of the cab to conduct signage, inspections and maintenance; driver often qualified as a “flagger.” Driver constantly communicates safe activities and transport on highways and single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios.

Prior Experience: May require special safety gear and flagger/pilot car training; Drivers License; preferred ample previous experience driving vehicles on forest roads; learn from work with experienced pilot car driver; demonstrated safe pilot car driver performance; written pilot car driver handbooks; on-the-job-training.

SELF-LOADER TRUCK DRIVER
Drives a “self-loader truck” to transport logs from remote forest locations to lumber mills. Logs are loaded onto this truck by the driver, who operates the truck’s own self-contained log loading mechanism—a long heel-boom arm and hydraulic grapple that’s operated by the driver. Truck travels highways as well as unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Driver operation of this truck is very similar to the log truck driver (see above).

Prior Experience: Commercial Drivers License; work as a highway truck driver and a log loader operator; preferred previous experience as operator of other forestry equipment, heavy equipment mechanical repairs, operating farm machinery or heavy equipment; learn from work with experienced log truck driver; demonstrated safe log truck driver performance; written log truck driver handbooks and service guides; on-the-job-training.

SUPPORT TRUCK DRIVER
Drives a medium-duty “truck” to transport logging rigging, cable, small machinery, culverts, or construction supplies between forest construction jobsites. This truck has a flatbed and hauls under 26,000 lb gross vehicle weight. Support truck may also pull a heavy-duty flatbed trailer that’s loaded with additional machinery or mid-sized equipment. Supplies are loaded onto this truck’s rear-cargo bed by a log loader, excavator or by hand. Truck travels on both highways and on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Commonly, this job is performed by another logging or forestry crew member or heavy equipment operator. Driver works to safely deliver and unload supplies. The driver sits in a cab, but must be out of the cab for loading, inspections and maintenance. Driver communicates safe loading and transport on single-lane logging roads using citizens band (CB) radios. Driver may be responsible for truck basic service, refueling, diagnostics and minor repairs. Requires special safety clothing, climbing off & onto the truck, and some walking on sloping forest terrain.

Prior Experience: Work as a logging or forestry crew person; Drivers License; preferred previous experience operating other forestry or farm equipment;; learn from work with experienced truck driver; demonstrated safe truck & service performance; written operator handbooks and truck service guides; on-the-job-training.