LINTON, Ind. -- Tulip poplar trees harvested from Greene-Sullivan State Forest will provide some of the lumber to rebuild a Parke County covered bridge that was destroyed last year by an arsonist.
A logging crew from the C.C. Cook & Son Lumber Co. of Reelsville is cutting 126 of the approximate 60-year-old trees from two different sites in nearby Greene-Sullivan State Forest and hauling them to Bridgeton, according to Steve Siscoe, property manager for the forest.
The tulip poplars -- the official Indiana state tree -- were planted in "spoil" areas previously strip mined, Siscoe said.
Siscoe marked the trees suitable for harvest in February.
The logging operations are taking place in the Sullivan County portion of the forest -- one site is located east of Bucktown and the other south of Dugger.
Three portable saw mills have been set up.
Siscoe said the poplar lumber will be used to rebuild the bridge's framework, arches and siding. Officials also need about 50 oak trees to provide planking for the new bridge's floor. Organizers hope to have the new bridge finished in time for October's Parke County Covered Bridge Festival.
"We think this is a good project," Siscoe commented.
Cook Lumber is donating all manpower and equipment for the logging project. Also, Pike Lumber, of Carbon, donated a truck that is used to haul the logs to Bridgeton where they will be cut to size.
The 245-foot-long bridge, erected in 1868, was considered one of the most scenic of the 31 wooden bridges Parke County officials have built an annual fall festival around.
On April 28, 2005, a fire reduced the 137-year-old bridge to burned rubble that collapsed into Raccoon Creek. Prosecutors later charged a twice-convicted arsonist in the fire.
Soon after the blaze, a plan was in the works to rebuild the bridge with donated cash, services and materials. The project is expected to cost between $1.2 million and $1.5 million and will begin in June.