Tongass National Forest, National Geographic Magazine: Hazardous Work If One Can Find It

Loggers and fishermen rank in the top two spots for most dangerous jobs. Both are common lines of work for people in the Alaskan outdoors. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking fatal occupational injuries in 1980, there were 4,547 fatal work injuries in 2010, and fatality rates of some occupations remain alarmingly high.

Cody, a timber faller, works alone in the woods at Winter Harbor on Prince of Wales Island. It’s dangerous work, and fallers listen for others’ saws between cuts to make sure no one is hurt. Following his father’s example, Cody wanted to be a timber faller since he was a kid. He got his first chain saw when he was nine and has been working since he turned seventeen.

It is tiring work. He leaves home at 5 am and drives an hour to the work site. He carries a heavy chain saw, walking with the grace of a ballet dancer on a maze of fallen trees. His shoes, called corks and costing as much as $750, have metal-spiked soles so he can walk on the trees without slipping.

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