A light will be shone on the log hauling industry this winter with the premiere of Mud Mountain Haulers.
The series, which debuted on Jan. 25 on Discovery Canada, was produced and masterminded by executive producer Mark Miller. He has previously worked on Highway Through Hell and Heavy Rescue: 401 and is hoping that Mud Mountain Haulers will be similarly successful.
”Mud Mountain Haulers is really a show about those who help keep toilet paper on our rolls and wood on the trucks so we can build our homes and apartment buildings,” Miller says, adding the show aims to clear up some misconceptions people have about the forest industry. “It’s really kind of a salute to the hard-working folks who work in the forest and keeps our country running.”
He first got the idea for the show while making Highway Through Hell, when they would often encounter logging truck drivers on the road. Miller says he soon realized these drivers were unique compared to the long-haul truckers, noting they often operate on “an ice rink” driving down treacherous service roads, which requires a tremendous amount of skill.
He also discovered there was a type of brotherhood in the industry and thought that it would be a cool world to explore. During their research, Miller says they met Craig Lebeau, a third-generation logger who runs Lebeau Brothers Logging in Kamloops. Lebeau first started working in the industry in the 1950s and is the star of the show, which looks at how he wants to preserve his family legacy, keep his employees employed, and protect the environment he relies upon for his livelihood.
Miller says the show shines a light on how much drivers like Lebeau and his family care about what they do and what type of effort they put into ensuring their loads reach their destinations. He adds that he used to look at the crisscrossing service roads and trails in Nelson and “honestly couldn’t understand how you could move a 140,000-pound load down that mountain and not kill yourself.”
The show was filmed across the South Cariboo and Thompson regions, from Kamloops Lake to Shuswap Lake and from Revelstoke to just South of Salmon Arm. Miller says they have produced eight episodes for the first season, many of which were filmed during the opening stages of the pandemic last year and wrapped up in late May.
“We started filming at the end of February of last year and 15 days later COVID hit. So we had to continue filming through COVID and figure out how to do that. It was a very interesting experience how we were able to adapt and treat COVID like another safety risk.
“I’m really happy to report we were a COVID-free show. No one got sick.”
To prevent the spread of any possible infection, Miller says they deployed multiple vehicles, limited the number of crew members on set, and made use of remote control cameras. “Thank God for GoPros,” he says with a laugh.
The show will run for the next eight weeks. Miller thinks residents of the region, with its history of the logging industry, will have a real connection to the show.
“This is a show about logging that paints logging in a positive light, and I’m really proud of that.”