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The Untold Truth Of Big Timber's Kevin Wenstob

The logging industry has ample potential for a reality TV show that's actually real. Regardless of your views on the industry, finding out how a basic element like wood makes its way from forests to your kitchen counters and picket fences is illuminating, to say the least. Of course, there's also the fact that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ranks logging among the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Potential environmental threats lurk behind every corner, and the equipment is basically all machinery and whirring blades. 

Netflix's new, logging-themed reality show "Big Timber" takes a long, often terrifying look at the industry's assorted dangers by following the dedicated crew of Wenstob Timber Resources Ltd., as they work their craft and brave the elements on Canada's Vancouver Island. The leader of the group is a perhaps unlikely reality TV star: Seasoned logger Kevin Wenstob, who is more than aware of the hectic and dangerous realities of the industry, and is responsible for getting the work done — as well as making sure that his team gets out of the woods alive. But who is this man, and what caused him to work in this highly dangerous business? Let's take a look at the untold truth of "Big Timber's" Kevin Wenstob.

Kevin Wenstob lives for the job

You'd expect that a highly demanding job like logging is something people do for a few weeks or months, and then take some time off to unwind. Per Victoria News, this most certainly doesn't apply to Kevin Wenstob. "There's never downtime in the industry," the logger said. "We probably take two Fridays off in a year. We can never go away on two-week holidays cause there's a lot of work to get done."

What's more, the days can get extremely long — think 16-hour workdays. Fortunately, it's not all drudging on the side of a mountain and attempting to cut down gigantic trees in nasty weather. Per Hollywood North Magazine, the physical logging is only a part of Wenstob's business, and his company's sawmill actually takes up more of their year-round day-to-day. As such, most of the crew actually works at the sawmill, and when the logging season hits, some of the mill workers hit the woods with Wenstob. 

"[The sawmill is] our stable employment area, and everyone that gets a job at the sawmill is given the opportunity to keep it or lose it," the logger describes how the system functions for his workers. "If you keep it, you can stay as long as you want. The logging is more seasonal, so we'll take people from the sawmill like Coleman, our sawyer [who also appears in the show]. He's energetic and has the logging trade down pretty good. He fits perfectly at the mill and takes the lead on most things when he's there making products. When he's out on the hill, he takes that position quite serious and is a true leader –- he really shines at it."

Kevin Wenstob is one of the last independent loggers in the area

Kevin Wenstob's considerable work ethic is somewhat explained by the fact that his business is one of the last few independent operators in the area, and he's extremely determined to keep things that way (via Victoria News). When he was young, he had a job as a dishwasher, and was quite disillusioned by the experience. So much, in fact, that he ended up taking the massive financial risk of buying the sawmill, and he's poured every drop of energy he has to stay independent ever since (via Hollywood North Magazine). 

"We like to control our destiny," Wenstob's wife, Sarah Fleming, describes their mentality. "We've always been independent for the past 25 years. Occasionally, we have to deal with small issues, but it's our world. We're addicted."

To keep things in working order, Wenstob's company is very big on sustainable forestry — and, of course, safety measures. "The terrain is always changing every time things break and come loose – you always have new hazards to watch out for," Wenstob said. "Weather can be a major issue and making sure everyone is aware of that, is really important."