Profitable logging and dangerous log driving
The logging business was extensive, and there was a high amount of log driving activity with timber from Snertingdalen at Stokkestranda from the 1750s until 1966. Log driving was a very rational form of transport – and often the only possible one. It allowed great amounts of timber to be moved far without requiring roads or railways. The form of transport has kept its strong position in over 200 years.
Log driving and lensevirksomhet (?) in the watercourses was early of crucial importance for the exploitation of the properties consisting of forests. Stokke Nedre had its golden days during the last half of the 18th century and during the 19th century. This was a time where there was high demand for timber at the glassworks at Biri and Gjøvik. In addition to this, a good source of income was generated by the lensevirksomheten (logging business?) by the end of Stokkelva.
The log driving in Stokkelva and Stokke lense was an important part of the value chain in the turnover of the timber for all owners of areas of forest in Snertingdalen and Redalen. The timber was towed further from Stokkestranda using (lense) boats.
After the lumberjacks loosened the timber stores from the river bank, and the logs floated in the river, the loggers took over the work. Using float hooks, they managed to get the timber further down the river. They made sure that none of the logs got stuck by the river banks or in the backwater, and that they kept away from the rapids and waterfalls.
Log driving was challenging and hard work, with long days. It was also quite dangerous. Many log drivers have lost their lives in the river, or been severely hurt by the logs. Once the logs reached the sorting point, the conditions were so calm that the workers usually could walk around with dry shoes on top of the fleets in the river and on the water. However, working here could also be dangerous, due to strong current, flood or other unstable weather conditions.
Later on, log driving in Stokkelva became organized by a log driving association (“fellesfløtingsforening”) for this watercourse. The association had its statutes approved by the authorities through a royal resolution, dated October 21st 1893.
An adult log driver in 1892 made an average of 2,91 kroners per day.
The law of social security for accidents for industrial workers started to apply for log drivers in 1906, and for lumberjacks in 1908.
The Norwegian association for workers in the forest and agriculture (Norsk skog- og jordbruksarbeiderforbund) was founded in 1912. Due to the workers weak economic situation, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) lowered the membership fee of the organization to half of the price of the normal fee.
Log driving culminated during the years before the First World War. During good years, it is held that around 20 0000 to 25 000 med worked in forestry.
There are many traces along the lakefront after the logging business. Smiuhytta, Lensehytta and the boat house all originate from this time in history.