Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) Program
Florida Deadhead Logging
The late 19th century brought countless changes to the face of Florida. The landscape of towering pine trees and expansive cypress swamps on the southerly peninsula invited new inhabitants and pioneered new industries, including several northern logging companies. In those early years, armed with only an ax, loggers clear cut the longleaf pine forests and harvested the giant cypress.
These hundred year old pines and cypress, some thousands of years
old, and subsequent hand-cut logs were then rafted together and floated
downriver to nearby sawmills. It has been estimated that nearly 10
percent of these cut timbers sunk while in transit and were lost to
river bottoms where they were preserved by the cool water and lack of
day craftsman highly regard the wood that is milled from these pre-cut
submerged timbers, or deadhead logs, because of their great strength,
durability and resistance to rot. Wood from the sunken logs, revered for
its tight grain and array of colors ranging from blond to caramel to
black, is up to 10 times more valuable than conventional wood. It is
used to make upscale paneling, flooring and furniture.
The State of Florida claims ownership of most of the logs since they
are located on sovereign submerged lands. In 2000, a moratorium
prohibiting deadhead logging was lifted allowing loggers to retrieve
deadhead logs from Florida water bodies upon authorization and according
to specific legal and environmental conditions. However, logs that were
originally branded by the logging companies may still be claimed by
their original owners. Today, the authorization is provided through
DEPís issuance of a Dredge and Fill Permit from the Submerged Lands and
Environmental Resource Permitting Program and through a Use Agreement
from the Governor and Cabinet serving as the Board of Trustees of the
Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
What do you need to do to deadhead log?
Classroom Training for the Master Deadhead Logger Certification
(Adobe PDF 328 KB)
The Deadhead Logging program is based out of DEPís Northwest District Office in Pensacola.
For more information please contact the Deadhead Logging Permitter at:
Last updated: January 07, 2013
2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax)