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History of log floating in Repovesi (Kuutinkanava)

Beginning in the 1600s, slash-and-burn agriculture and tar production shaped the forests of Repovesi. In the 1800s, the development of steam-powered sawmills increased the demand for wood and ushered in the log driving period. Repovesi’s network of small waterways was ideal for log driving. In addition, brooks were cleared in order to facilitate floating, and the Kuutinkavana timber canal linking Lake Tervajärvi and Kuutinlahti Bay was built in 1912. In addition to the construction of a timber canal, natural brooks were cleared for floating, which involved removing any obstacles to the log drives. Log driving and tar production also left their mark on the place names of Repovesi.

The Kuutinkanava timber canal (shown here) was built in 1912. The canal significantly shortened the natural route between Lake Tervajärvi and Kuutinlahti Bay.  The canal was originally covered by rock, but a wooden log chute was later built on it. The chute was rebuilt twice. The third time it was rebuilt (in 1996), it was no longer in use, but was built to serve as a memorial to log driving in Repovesi.

The long log driving routes of Repovesi included brooks, shallows and narrows between larger lakes. Along the way, the driving style varied according to the water area. In narrow straits, the logs were driven while loose. During the spring thaw, the flow of water could be regulated in log chutes. Spring was the ideal time for log driving because the water level was high and the trees felled during the winter were driven to mills in the spring. Log driving in the Repovesi area ended in the 1960s with the construction of forest roads. The road network made it possible to utilise forests more efficiently.

Read more about the history of Repovesi www.nationalparks.fi/en/repovesinp/history

Coordinates (WGS84): P 61˚10, 474' I 26˚51, 916'