May 7, 2012



May 2007
Five years ago, my husband Robert and I left the fast paced urban life for a quiet, simpler one.  We moved from Dallas to follow our dream of rural living, a beautiful place to raise a family, and pursue our artistic endeavors.  Just outside Bastrop, we found sanctuary on seven acres of heavily wooded Lost Pines forest. Our home was a modest two bedroom house and the perfect starter home. We settled in well into our new life, made new friends, and quickly fell in love with all the small town charms of Bastrop.  Prior to our first child’s birth in 2009, we made improvements to our property, renovations to our home, and had built a sculpture workshop for our art enterprise, MorzArt. Life in our Lost Pines home had become the peaceful life we had dreamt up years prior.  That all changed one Sunday afternoon last fall when the Bastrop Complex Fire broke out Labor Day weekend, and grew to be the largest property damaging fire in Texas history, which ultimately destroyed nearly 1700 homes and claimed two lives.
September 13, 2011
Like many citizens affected by the history making wildfires in Bastrop County, Texas, we were left wondering what to do with over 300 dead standing pine trees that remained after the fire destroyed our family’s home and art studio.  Picking up the pieces after losing one’s home certainly is an emotionally challenging life event.  Combine that with 95% loss of our forest land and the cleanup measures needed, the situation quickly seemed overwhelming.  In an effort to not render our land useless to tree hazards, we developed a strong desire to make good use of our loved and lost Loblolly Pines. Through a friend, we learned of one local man’s mission; a mission that offered us a new hope to the situation we faced regarding the rebuilding of our home and a solution to our burned timber.  We knew the timber was still viable, and our strong desire to use them prompted us to contact Jim Leverett of Logs to Lumber, Incorporated.  What first started as a desire has now grown to a mission compelling us to extremes… off-road extremes.
Jim Leverett founded Logs to Lumber (L2L) in anticipation of and in response to the great need that would arise as a result of the fires.  His organization is a grassroots, non-profit dedicated to “assist affected citizens in the rebuilding effort by harvesting & utilizing the viable timber resources of the Lost  Pines.” Their motto: “Our Resources Rebuilding Our Community”. According to the Logs to Lumber website, “The mission of Logs to Lumber is to ‘find a way to convert dead or dying trees scorched by the Bastrop County Complex Fire into something that can be used to repair the damage done by that fire’.  Logs to Lumber relies solely upon the donations from caring citizens and volunteers to achieve this mission...donations of timber, time, know-how, heavy equipment, and money help to achieve this necessary mission for the benefit of our devastated community.  The goal: Organize Logistics, Harvest the Timber, Provide Lumber to the People.”
February 24, 2012
Upon meeting Leverett, we learned that in the months following the fire, he had been working out the logistics of timber donations, volunteer crews, donated equipment, and had worked out arrangements with sawmills willing to trade out the burned timber for milled lumber. The lumber generated will then be utilized in rebuilding efforts for affected families. In a short time, Mr. Leverett had accomplished a lot of groundwork towards his mission, and we knew that we had found the win-win solution that was aligned with our goals concerning the arduous timber clean-up and rebuilding of our home.
Leverett’s formation of an impromptu logging operation was quite an ambitious undertaking, and with it, he stressed the need for community supported efforts to achieve the L2L goals.  Leverett has succeeded in bringing milled lumber back to Bastrop, yet unfortunately he continues to hurdle obstacles related to acquiring heavy equipment donations in order to manage the timber weight and maneuver through the sandy soil of the forest.  With the massive need and quantity of acreage that Mr. Leverett has access to, we recognized the importance of helping to him ramp up the harvesting efforts. Believing in his mission, we felt that the L2L organization was not getting the attention it warranted. With a limited amount of time to accomplish the timber harvesting goal, we knew it was imperative to spread the word and inform others of the Logs to Lumber’s important work within the community.
A brainstorm of ideas had us searching for a creative solution to harvest the burned timber, and as a result, we came up with what we describe as a “divinely inspired idea…a fun, exciting and community supported effort to benefit Logs to Lumber”. Born from this inspiration, we are developing and planning to host “The First Ever - Lost Pines Log Pull - 4x4 Off-Road Burned Forest Challenge©”.  The concept of the event: have 4x4 off-road vehicles or tractors, capable of navigating the terrain with ample horsepower, retrieve pre-cut logs from the forest and deliver them to the loading zone. At the loading zones, the logs will then be loaded on trailers bound for the mill. The spirit of the event fits with the Bastrop “help your neighbor” small town attitude that we have come to know and love.
The challenge is a two day competition to be held Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-27.  During the “working hours” of 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, both days, competitors will be given the opportunity to work as little or as much as they can to retrieve and deliver logs to loading zones.  The challenge is a point-based competition, where participants will earn points for logs they deliver.  All logs will be cut in 21-foot lengths and inches in diameter will determine the points awarded to vehicle teams. For example, should a participating vehicle deliver an 8” log, they would earn 8 points; similarly, a 30 inch log = 30 points.  There are no limitations on the quantity or means by which participants can retrieve logs in a pass of the circular course. We encourage participants to gather teammates and to employ ingenuity and strategy to accomplish the challenge mission.  At the close of the two day competition, the current winning prize for the vehicle with the most points earned is $1,200.
We are currently making arrangements for the challenge and prepping the course for log delivery efficiency.  According to our Official Rules, “For the mission to be successful, efficiency for a steady flow of deliveries is key….wide pre-established lanes will be created for accessibility to logging area and exits  to loading zones. Trees will be ‘felled & bucked’ and logs ready to ‘grab-n-go’.”
From this event, we hope to achieve a couple of primary goals.  Firstly, deliver as many logs as possible to the mill, and secondly, bring attention to the Logs to Lumber mission and its important purpose for healing our community.