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Morin and Pepin inducted into Rangeley Logger’s Hall of Fame

Morin

The Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum recently inducted Luc Morin of Weld into the Logger’s Hall of Fame. From left to right: Son-in-law Leo Bellemare, grandson Blaine Virgin of Canton, daughter Michelle M. Bellemare of Mt. Vernon, Luc Morin; front row: great-grandson Brike Hallee of Mt. Vernon. (Peggy Yocom Photo)


RANGELEY - The Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum recently inducted Luc Morin of Weld and Leo Pepin, formerly of Stratton, into the Logger’s Hall of Fame. Begun in 1985, the Logger’s Hall of Fame honors people who have worked in the woods for a significant part of their lives and who have made valuable contributions to lumbering in the western Maine mountains.

This year’s awardees join a distinguished list of local woodsmen that includes Robert Wilbur, William Spiller, Elijah White, Jr., Wendell Steward, and Richard Hale.

Born in 1925 in Saint-Martin, Québec, Morin began work in the woods at 16 years of age, cutting 500 cords of wood with a young man his age.

“I love land, I love the woods,” he said. “In the woods, I was home. Period.” Morin worked in the Rumford area when he first came to the United States in 1948, and he also worked in Bingham and Jackman. He trucked wood for Oxford Pulp and Paper in 1954, but he wanted to work on his own. First, he bought a horse, and then a John Deere tractor. His business prospered, and he logged all over western Maine and a little in eastern New Hampshire.

“I never went far,” he said smiling, emphasizing how he loves where he lives. At the peak of his work, he had three skidders going; now, he keeps one in operation, with the help of his grandson, Blaine Virgin.

He advises young loggers to turn from “big equipment and get smaller.” Morin built his log home in Weld and still cuts his own firewood. A dedicated fisherman, he built two fish ponds on his land and connected them with a spillway.

Pepin

The Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum recently inducted Leo Pepin, formerly of Stratton, into the Logger’s Hall of Fame. From left to right: Richard Pepin, Lucille Pepin, Luc Pepin, Claude Pepin, all of Stratton. (Peggy Yocom Photo)


Born in Notre-Dame-Des-Bois, Québec, Pepin (1930-2012) began work in the woods at 14 alongside of his father and uncle. When he was still living in Woburn, Québec, Pepin worked on the flowage at Flagstaff dam project in 1948-49, cutting wood with bucksaws and, then, chain saws. In 1953, Pepin, with his wife Lucille (Desrochers) and sons, moved to Stratton and worked for Warren Tuff of Kingfield. When he logged with horses near Madrid, Pepin’s family lived with him in the woods camp—two young boys and no running water. Later, he worked for Norman Latandresse, then for the Forster Company, with Dick Lowell as woods boss.

In 1958, Pepin started his own business, logging for Beaudry Lumber on the Gold Brook Road and then for the Brown Paper Company, where he jobbed for many years. He began his business with horses, but in the mid-1960s, he bought a Timberjack skidder and later added road-building equipment. His two oldest boys, Claude and Luc, worked with him on their days off from school, running loaders, graveling roads, and more.

In 1984, Pepin sold his logging business and worked almost 20 years for Andrew and Adrian Brochu. “Leo was a very smart woodsman,” Adrian Brochu pointed out. “He was good at dealing with people, especially teaching young people. He operated all logging equipment—dozers, excavators, and trucks.” Pepin also worked on the Carrabassett Valley Academy school project. An avid hunter and fisherman, he spent many days after he retired catching salmon and trout on Lake Azicohos with his wife, and, in the winter, hunting coyotes.

All are invited to view the Logger’s Hall of Fame plaque during Museum hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11-5 p.m. Awardees are chosen by a museum committee of loggers: Mark Beauregard of Beauregard Forestry & Earthwork, Rangeley; Joe Haley of M&H Logging and Construction, Rangeley; and Lance White of White’s Land Management, Dixfield. Committee coordinator Peggy Yocom welcomes suggestions for future nominees; contact her at myocom@gmu.edu or 864-3421.

- Submitted by Peggy Yocom, curator Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum.

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