In the early decades of Grand County, lumbering was a key contributor to the local economy. Logging was necessary as the principal source of building construction and also as the only available fuel. When the railroad first made its way over Rollins Pass, the production of railroad ties became an important industry. In the Grand Lake area, the brief mining boom of the 1880s created a steady demand for timber.
Some remains of log structures from abandoned logging camps were still evident late in to the 20th century. These include the Middle Park Lumber Company on St. Louis Creek (southwest of Fraser), an operation that had it's own railroad line into town. In the same area, the independent logging settlements of Lapland and Stockholm date back to 1915.
Above Tabernash was located the Deiler Mill, ten miles up Hurd Creek. In 1910, the Western Box Company bought the mill and moved it to the head of Meadow Creek. A box factory was located in Tabernash and the logs were floated down in a flume, thirteen miles long. Mrs. Braddock was the "flume lady" at one time and would balance on a log while breaking up log jams on the trip downstream.....a task that required "great skill and derring-do".
Other operations included Koppers Camp up Pole Creek (above Tabernash), Mr. Daves Mill at Hideaway Park and Bob Morrow's camp on Byers Peak. Broderick Wood Products Company of Denver was a major purchaser of Grand County timber starting in 1930. In 1939, Smokey Harrison founded the Timberline Sawmill at Kremmling.
A huge box making plant was built on a site now covered by Granby reservoir. Its main supply point was a logging camp at southwest corner of Monarch Lake. You can still see remnants of the logging machinery along the shore of the lake. For a short time there was a branch railroad from Granby to the box factory, which later burned to the ground, In 1949, American Timber built a sawmill and log pond at Granby, west of the Highway 40 overpass. The west end of the county was logged by the Kremmling Division of the Edward Hines Lumber Company. Later, Louisiana Pacific built a wafer board plant in Kremmling but it closed in the 1980's.
The short growing and harvesting season created many challenges for the loggers. According to Ed. "Jr." O'Neil, it takes over 100 years in Grand County to grow a tree big enough got a 35 foot telephone pole. In contrast, it would only take 30 years to grow a similar tree in warmer climes. There is still private logging activity in Grand County, most of it for the construction of luxury log homes.