Working together. Diving together. Reclaiming history together. Brothers Shane and Ryan Hogue grew up in the Ottawa Valley, where their family has been settled for generations. With the Ottawa River as their playground from the time that they could swim, the Hogue brothers were instilled with a unique personal connection to the waterway that played a central role in their family since before they were born.
As their operation's principal divers, the brothers spend countless hours together in and on the water, fortifying their trust in each other and in the river that has guided so much of their life.
Continuing a Family Legacy
The Hogue Brothers' connection to the lost Ottawa River logs goes back nearly a century, when their grandfather James Hogue spent
many backbreaking winter months extracting old-growth timber from the Ottawa River valley as a teamster. Today, whenever they pull a historic log to the surface, the brothers feel a sense of satisfaction that they are completing the work that their grandfather began nearly a
hundred years ago.
A Community Effort
Giving back to the community is important to us. As we prepare our logs for market, we’re proud to partner with local lumber specialists in Pembroke, Ontario—one of Canada’s oldest logging communities, and one that continues to take enormous pride in its colourful logging tradition today.
Meet Deep River Lumber's Log Authenticator
Tom Stephenson: Renowned forester, outdoorsman, historian
Download Tom Stephensons Bio [PDF]
Deep River Lumber's reclaimed logs are authenticated as historic timbers by celebrated Canadian forestry biologist and logging historian Tom Stephenson.
Stephenson is perhaps best known for his role as a leading historic authority and craftsman in the creation of a replica square timber raft that was displayed as a prize exposition at Canada's premiere history museum, The Museum of Civilization.
He has made his mark as a well-respected professor of forestry and has been consulted for many books on the history of logging in Canada. Most recently, he has been featured in award-winning writer Ron Corbett's 2008 publication, One Last River Run.
Stephenson's life has always been rooted in forests and waterways, and he has never strayed far from either. He was born in Perth, Ontario, a small town renowned for its strong connection to Canada's historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a teenager, Stephenson worked in one of Perth's lumber mills, where he soon rose in the ranks due to his natural gift with wood and innate love of learning. Before long, he caught the attention of the local bank manager, who saw in him great potential to excel in the field of forest conservation. He offered Stephenson the opportunity to attend the University of New Brunswick, Canada's leading center of forestry studies, where he was able to enjoy "book learning" for the first time in his life.
Still, Stephenson craved being out of doors. After graduating with a forestry degree, he returned to the Ottawa River area and quickly became a sought-after foreman in regional logging camps. It was here that his interest in historic logging operations was first sparked. He later joined the Ottawa River Forest Protection Association as a forest fire fighter. Due to his university credentials and hands-on knowledge of all aspects of forests, Stephenson was offered the position of Professor of Forestry at a college in the heart of Canada's leading forestry region.
Although he is now officially retired, Stephenson is always looking for opportunities to connect the present forestry industry with its remarkable past—and working with Deep River Lumber gives him the chance to do just that.
Our log recovery process begins back where it left off—in the history books. First, we research areas of the Ottawa River where historic logging operations thrived. Then, with the help of local old-time rivermen, we find the points on the map where rapids and chutes may have claimed their fair share of logs.
With this knowledge as a guide, we use non-invasive imaging sonar to locate where logs are lying, undisturbed for centuries, on the bed of the Ottawa River. Led by Shane and Ryan Hogue, our certified divers descend beneath the water 30 feet or more to where they've discovered
the logs to be. In the chilling black depths of the Ottawa River, they locate the logs by feel, inspect them for quality using their hands, and tie them off blindly.
After the divers give the all-clear, we gently raise the logs by hand to a boat above until they break the surface for the first time in generations. Waterlogged to over five times their dry weight, these sleeping giants are gently extracted from the river using a sophisticated system designed so that nothing is disturbed in their wake.
To complete the process begun lifetimes ago, our logs are sawn at the site of a historic early-1900s sawmill that supported much of the development of the Upper Ottawa Valley nearly a century ago.