taking shape east of Port City
Jamie Roach/ Special to the Telegraph-Journal
Harry Dunfleld chains a felled white pine for yarding.
BY MIKE MULLEN AND JAMIE ROACH
Thursday, February 19/04
FUNDY PARK ROAD -
Perry Crawford circles a 100-year-old white pine, kicking, the snow around its
voluminous stump, arching his back as he gazes skyward mea suring the tree's
His chainsaw feasts on the timber
buffet - whirring, growling, chomping. The wedge is out. A few more cuts.
Mr. Crawford darts for safety. There's a powerful
rip through the bush as the pine clears its own path from vertical to
horizontal. It's down.
For the last two weeks, this has
been the sound of history taking shape for Mr. Crawford and Harry Dunfield -
and for Saint John's shipbuilding legacy.
The two have
been harvesting timber on the Mr. Dunfield's property just off the Fundy Park
Road near Penobsquis.
They are part of Saint John High
School teacher Barry Ogden's project to build a one-third scale replica of the
This version will be non-sailing, and 27
metres (90 ft.) long with an 18-metre (60-foot) main mast.
Mr. Ogden expects it will take about five weeks for Mr.
Crawford's team to cut, haul and mill the 40 pairs of pine ribs.
They'll eventually go to Simonds High School where they
will be shaped by students of teacher Mike Boyle.
they'll be taken to Long Wharf, where people will be able to see the
Mr. Ogden hopes to announce soon the
name of an organization that has offered to build the replica.
Back in the woods, it's old-time work for Mr. Crawford
and Mr. Dunfield - low-impact, lowmaintenance, they call it. Except for
chainsaws, they are using horses and basic sawing and yarding tools. No
Kate, a Belgian work horse nearing her
20th year, digs in as she hauls a 16-foot piece of dead weight to the yard.
With warming air on the eve of a nor'easter, her sweaty coat seems all the more
Kate will yard about two or three trees per
day as well as haul the sleigh carrying her two workers to and from the parking
area and horse shed by the Fundy Park Road. It's a 10minute trek, through a
valley, on a snowmobile trail, over the South Branch River, up a hill, down a
hill, and occasionally belly-deep in snow from a previous night's storm.
"You have to keep your eye on her though," Mr. Dunfield
laughed. "(When she's not busy) she likes to head back to the shed without us!"
Two other horses, identical sisters of a
Clydesdale/Quarterhorse cross, will handle the sledding chores to a makeshift
sawmill on the property.
Mr. Dunfield's 160-acre woodland
has been in the family since his great great grandfather. He grew up here, left
for the navy as a young adult, and eventually returned to the region to work in
the Saint John frigate program.
He also happens to be a
neighbour of Mr. Ogden in the Kennebecasis Valley. One day the two were talking
and the conversation turned to the Marco Polo and the idea to build a replica.
"I said, `Well, I have some lumber at my place,' " Mr.
It's an impressive stand of white
pine that Mr. Dunfield said has probably never been harvested. One of their
felled logs sports a butt diameter of 30 inches.
Ogden's plans call for 80 logs, eight feet in length, and 10 inches by eight
inches square. He also needs 40 16-foot logs. The yard is half full since
starting Feb. 2.
Mr. Ogden can hardly believe his dream
of building a replica of the famed clipper ship is taking shape.
"I am just totally overwhelmed by the support in the
community. It is just fantastic," he said. "Everywhere you go, people want to
talk about it. After 17 years, it's nice to see it start to come together."
He said the effort to raise $180,000 to $200,000 toward
the cost, in cash or gifts in kind, is going well.
first stage was $25,00 and things have pretty well fallen into place," he said.
"Then, we have the organization that has offered to build it for us."
Donations to the Marco Polo Project can be made to any
branch of TD Canada Bank, Bayview Credit Union or Royal Bank. People can also
support the cause by taking their recyclables to any local redemption centre.
Once built, Mr. Ogden said the vessel itself could be
used as a stage for telling the story of the Marco Polo. "It would be a great
place to stage a musical to tell the story, so many times a day," he said.
The original Marco Polo was launched at Marsh Creek in
1851. On her most famous voyage, she sailed from Liverpool, England, to
Australia in just 76 days, making her the fastest sailing ship of her time.
Previous voyages had taken 100 to 120 days. The ship sank in July 1883, off
Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.
Mr. Ogden has even
bigger dreams for the board of the Marco Polo Project.
"As soon as it's done, let's take on some more projects
and lets get this community rolling," he said. "The whole trick here is to pull
together, and then our ship will come in."
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