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Trailkeepers Train the Next Generation of Sawyers

November 20, 2023

Have you caught the “saw bug” yet? Join TKO on a logout and you just might! This draw to saw work, the itch to feel the saw interact with wood as you cut, captivates many a trail crew member after just one day pulling saw. Saw work is a critical aspect of trail stewardship, and it’s this feeling that TKO has worked to inspire in emerging sawyers across Oregon. 

Thanks in large part to a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, TKO has been able to take our saw training program on the road. For the second year in a row, TKO supported sawyers-in-training at the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s Allingham Trail Skills College. This year, the chainsaw certification class was led by TKO instructors with help from USFS agency staff and volunteers. 16 students and instructors attended ATSC, making for a very successful collaborative saw learning experience for everyone involved.

A group of volunteers sit inside a large tent listening to teachings from Saw Instructors.

Volunteers listen to Saw Instructors at Allingham Trail Skills College.

In a first time collaboration in spring of 2023, TKO facilitated six chainsaw training courses and four crosscut saw training courses in the Deschutes National Forest! These trainings empowered volunteers and agency staff alike to confidently steward trails throughout the National Forest, and continue building those skills so they may continue to train other stewards and strengthen their programming. 

Two volunteers in chainsaw PPE pose on trail in the gap of a freshly cut downed tree.

Two volunteers after cutting a downed log in the Deschutes National Forest.

Building on that momentum, the next stop for the TKO saw program was the Malhuer National Forest. TKO Saw Program Coordinator, Vito Perrone, was contacted by the U.S. Forest Service Region 6 Saw Program Manager to help train and evaluate USFS staff. With years of sawing and instruction experience under his belt, Vito helped instruct six firefighters and recreation staff alongside two USFS saw instructors. The group successfully completed multiple days of advanced felling and bucking technique trainings, resulting in six newly trained agency staff ready to better serve the land and trails in the Malhuer National Forest!

A group of volunteers in hardhats sit in a row along a large downed tree.

Volunteers rest during a day of saw training in the Malhuer National Forest.

Every time a group of volunteers or agency staff are trained in saw use, Oregon gains another pair of capable hands to care for our trails and natural places. As we grow the TKO saw program and spread the knowledge and experience held within it, our goal is to inspire and empower the next generation of sawyers. Anyone from any background can have a hand in stewarding our public lands. Now come try your hand on a saw with TKO!

You can support TKO in continuing to provide free and low cost saw training to diverse groups of sawyers by contributing to the Legacy Builders fundraising campaign! Even the smallest amount makes a difference, and those who volunteer or contribute $150+ throughout the week will be entered to win an Atom Hoody from Arc’teryx (a $300 value!)

TKO would like to thank Oregon State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and Travel Oregon, for their support of TKO’s service to stewarding Oregon’s trails.

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