Why Saw?

Learning saw skills from brushing a trail corridor with a handsaw/loppers to sizing up and clearing a jackstraw mess of trees down with a crosscut saw, TKO seeks to provide volunteers and professionals skills and certifications that can enable folks to give back to trails and communities.

TKO Saw School is a series of foundational and technical training activities. From being an informed brushing specialist with a handsaw to advanced expertise in sawyer skills for bucking and felling trees, we want to ensure we are outfitting communities of Oregon with folks that can help when the time comes.

Saw Crew after a successful bucking trail party
Instructor Pat Keavney at a Saw Certification event

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who can apply to the Saw Training and Certification courses?
    • Any volunteer!
  • What is a TKO Saw Training and Certification course?
    • US Forest Service and other land managers require certified saw operators to address any downed tree over 5 inches in diameter.  During our Saw Certification course you will receive a certification allowing you to operate a saw, or lead saw crews within our organization.
  • Why is a saw certification required for TKO volunteers?
    • Land managers such as the US Forest Service require saw certifications to lead saw crews, and a certain number of certified “sawyers”, or saw operators, to insure that a saw crew is skilled and safe.
  • What are the certification levels?
    • USFS designates sawyers at three levels.  “A” sawyers are apprentice sawyers who may saw only in the least complex situations.  “B” sawyers are intermediate sawyers who are allowed operate in moderately complex situations.  “C” sawyers are advanced saw operators who may operate in highly complex situations.
  • How long is a certification valid?
    • Saw certifications are valid for a three year period from issuance.
  • Do I need a current First Aid and CPR card?
    • Yes.  US Forest Service policy dictates that all certified sawyers have current, valid FA/CPR training.


This series of informative videos gives the viewer information on all things saw, from saw types and binds, to USFS organizational structure and our own saw program.  They can’t replace hands-on training, but will give you a “log” up when you attend a training or certification course!

What Is Cross Cut Sawing?

Little to no experience with a cross cut saw?  Don’t know what the heck “cross cut” even is?  Start with this six video series!

Get Schooled, Dig In

Do you wonder how we’ll fix all these trail challenges?  Watch these short videos to prepare you for a TKO Volunteer Experience:

  • Battle the Brush

  • Mind the Mud

  • Log a Log

  • UnSound Structures

Ready to learn more? There’s an exciting amount of sawyer info to deep dive into.  Here are a few links!

USFS: An Ax to GrindUSFS: An Ax to GrindOne Moving Part: Forest Service Axe Manual
USFS: Saws That SingThe Crosscut Sawyer - Online course from U of M

Want to Get Involved?

Email volunteers@trailkeepersoforegon.org to learn more about how you can help us advocate for Oregon’s trails. Or contact us at:

Trailkeepers of Oregon
P.O. Box 14814
Portland, Oregon 97293
(971) 206-4351

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