A light will be shone on the log hauling industry this winter with the premiere of Mud Mountain Haulers.
The series, which premiered Monday, Jan. 25, on Discovery Canada, was produced and masterminded by executive producer Mark Miller. He’s previously worked 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 said, 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, he said, when they would often encounter logging truck drivers on the road. Miller said 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 said they met Craig Lebeau, a third-generation logger who runs Lebeau Brothers Logging in Kamloops. Lebeau, whose grandfather started working in the industry in the 1950s, 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 said 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. Miller said 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 Revelstoke to just South of Salmon Arm. Miller said they’ve 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 May.
“We started filming in 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 and it was a very interesting experience how we were able to adapt and treat COVID like another safety risk,” Miller said. “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 said they deployed multiple vehicles, limiting the number of crew members on set and making use of remote control cameras.
“Thank God for GoPros,” Miller remarked with a laugh.
The first episode aired Monday at 7 p.m. and will run for eight weeks. Miller thinks residents of 100 Mile House, with its history of the logging industry, will have a connection to the show.
“This is a show about logging that paints logging in a positive light and I’m really proud of that.”