Loggers Say Dead Head Price Is Too High

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Ryan Lee knows a good piece of timber and says he was looking forward to once again pulling the valuable wood known as "dead heads" out of Peach State rivers.

Ryan Lee, Operations Manager for Aqua Log, says, "The density and the grain characteristics are something that just don't exist anymore. The only place that this will ever be seen again is at the bottom of these rivers."

Banned by Georgia in 1998, the state granted loggers a two-year window to dead head again beginning this year, but Lee says state requirements, which he says include $60,000 in fees and more than a dollar per foot board charge, are too high.

Lee says, "At this point it's a money losing proposition to abide by their rules."

Loggers say the Flint River in Decatur County is one of the best places to dead head log, but many say this type of log retrieval is bad for the environment.

Dr. Craig Burnside, a biology professor at Bainbridge College, says, "You pull up a lot of silt and that silt will go downstream and potentially cover up another ecosystem and make it difficult for the plants and animals there to live."

Logger Ryan Lee believes pressure from environmental groups led to the state's high fees, but says he still hopes the price tag will one day be right for him to dead head logs in Georgia. He says he just hopes that happens before the law expires in 2008.

In Florida, loggers say fee to dead head logs is only $6,500.