Dead Head Logging

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Ryan Lee has been in the lumber industry for many years and he's looking forward to once again pulling the valuable wood known as "dead heads" out of Peach State rivers.

Ryan says, "The color that's in them, lying in the rivers for 150 years, they take minerals out of the water and it gives them a real distinct color."

Lee runs Riverwood Flooring and Paneling of Cairo. His mill got the dead heads from a Florida river, but he says he's already applied for a license to dead head log in Georgia, and he says the market is good.

Lee says, "The fact that it's a rarity, the same reason people spend money on a Ferrari over a Pujo."

Loggers say the Flint River in Decatur County is one of the best places for dead head logging, but there are many who oppose the practice. They say it's a bad move for the environment.

Dr. Craig Burnside, a biology professor at Bainbridge College, says, “Some of the issues that have come up have to do with stirring up the bottom and disturbing some of the animals that live there, and disturbing habitat along the side that help the river maintain its pristine state."

Georgia's dead head law went into effect in early July. Lee says he hopes to be logging Georgia rivers early next year.

Dead head retrieval is legal in Florida, and some Georgia loggers have obtained contracts to log rivers in the Sunshine State.