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Training, Training, Training

For information on trail work parties and volunteer opportunities, check this forum often. As a PCT enthusiast and volunteer your efforts keep the crown jewel shining!

Moderator: North 350 Blades

Training, Training, Training

Postby North 350 Blades » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:33 pm

That would be volunteer trail crew training.

The Columbia Cascades Trails Skills College for 2013 has been posted. Dates are April 19-21, 2013 at Cascade Locks Oregon. The saw skills classes are April 26-28, 2013 in the same general vicinity. Other colleges further south (central Oregon, Tahoe area and southern California near Cajon Pass) have yet to have their dates posted yet, so keep checking back occasionally.

Classes may include:
100 Level
Intro to trail maintenance.
Brushing and scouting
(Basic) tread and drainage maintenance.
Basic Saw Crew
Hand Tool Field Maintenance
200 Level
Basic Trail Design
Drainage Design and Drain Dips
Waterbars and Checks
Tread Reconstruction
Trail Decommissioning
Trail Signage
300 & 400 Level
Rock Retaining Walls
Drainage Crossings
Crew Leadership
Advanced Crew Leadership

Saw courses typically include initial certification in bucking (not felling). Separate classes are offered for old school cross cut saws (used in Wilderness) and chain saw, as well as re-certification for each saw type.

Before going into the virtues of the training, I want to say to those considering volunteering: You don't NEED the offered training to have a safe, enjoyable and satisfying day with your local trail crew. That said, if you catch the trail crew bug, you'll want the training to get better at what you're doing, and to participate in some volunteer trail crew aspects that require certifications (like operating a chain saw or being a cross cut saw team lead).

For those new to trail crew and wanting some formal training the first 3 classes listed above would be great choices - intro to trail crew, brushing and scouting and the basic tread and drainage. With these, you'll get started on the right foot with a solid foundation for your early participation in volunteer trail maintenance. In following years, as your experience grows, take the 200 level classes to hone your technical skills at trail crew. For those interested in leadership roles with your volunteer crew, there are the leadership classes to help you safely and effectively lead, motivate and manage your fellow volunteers.

If you're interested in participating in log outs, the intro to saw crew would be a great class to become familiar with the basics (especially if you have no personal experience in handling chain or cross cut saws). With this class and a year or two swamping (e.g. helping to prep logs and clear branches and clearing the cut logs) on log outs, the prospective sawyer would probably be ready to take an initial certification class.

We can say from first hand experience that these PCTA Trails Skills Colleges are an excellent investment of the volunteer's time. You'll be a far better trail crew volunteer, better able to diagnose issues with the trail and implement the best practices solutions in a safe and efficient manner.
North 350 Blades
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:15 pm

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