Thank you for running the front-page story about the role that drones play in 21st-century logging ("Drones help carry the load for loggers," The Daily Astorian, April 4).
When I worked in the woods, drones drove around the stump ranch in pickup trucks. They had soft hands, and they smelled nice. They came from the office, and they carried brand-new White Ox work gloves in their hip pockets, and the rigging men considered them a nuisance. A drone seldom got off the log landing, and when he did, we brush apes felt honored to be in the presence of such a distinguished visitor.
Times change. The Owl Wars are over. Spotty lost. Spotty took the blame for disappearing logging jobs, but mechanization was the real culprit. And now, a flying machine to string synthetic haywire from the landing to the tail tree. It does the work of two, maybe three men in the twinkling of an eye. Even now, labor costs are the simplest expense to eliminate. Boots on the ground are a thing of the past.
Mechanical harvesters are the here and now. Self-driving cars are now being developed, so self-driving harvesters are sure to follow. We have the necessary facial and spacial recognition technology, and thus the next generation of logging machines will be programmable and self-actuated. The drones will outlast us all. Ask any farmer.