Old logs in river a sunken treasure for one company

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There’s much more to the Cape Fear River than meets the eye. Beneath the surface, there’s hundreds of years of history that one local company is turning into a flourishing business.

Underneath the murky Cape Fear River water, there’s a hidden treasure.

“They were floating them down the river, and the very best logs were the ones that were so dense, and if they got away from the raft that they were built into they just sank,” said Bill Moore, owner of Cape Fear Riverwood, which is trying to recover old logs that sunk years ago in the river.

These long leaf pines are a part of our history, chopped down hundreds of years ago, but the lost ones can be reclaimed and turned into something new.

Using sonar and GPS, Cape Fear Riverwood can find them and set up shop.

To get the logs out of the river and onto the barge, the crew uses a grapple, a huge giant claw that weighs about 13,000 pounds, that scoops the logs up and gets them out.

With high-quality wood like this, woodworkers can turn it into almost anything.

“A lot of flooring, a lot of paneling,” Moore said. “We do a lot of counter top work, as well as custom furniture and custom moldings.”

These logs get a chance to sprout anew when they come up for air; fulfilling their original purpose from a huge industry from years ago.

“There still could be millions of board feet left in the Cape Fear River Basin,” Moore said.

That means these logs could be the gift that keeps on giving, for a long time.

While digging out the logs, many historic artifacts come up too. Cape Fear Riverwood teams up with the North Carolina Underwater Archeological Center at Fort Fisher to preserve anything crews find.

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