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It's Time.....

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It's Time.....

Postby North 350 Blades » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:23 am

....to maintain the PCT.

Here in the great Pacific Northwest, the North 350 Blades are spooling up for the start of our maintenance season on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Last weekend we held back to back training days for saw crews. On Saturday, it was Intro to Saw Crew 103. This class is the first step on the ladder to becoming a USFS certified crosscut or chain saw sawyer. In the class, students learned how to be good saw team members - the safety considerations, proper use of a crosscut saw, how to prep logs for sawing, and, of course, thee was a fair amount of time actually pulling on a crosscut saw. The students are encouraged to then volunteer on log out teams to build their experience. In future years, with this experience, they'll be ready to step up for their first shot at a certification. Most students on their first try will qualify as an apprentice sawyer. With some more experience and study, they'll come back in future years and likely qualify as a Saw Team Leader.

In a couple of weeks, our PCTA Regional Rep will be hosting a 2 day Stewards Training event. The outcome will be to prepare the students with the basics of tread and drainage skills, plus brushing and scouting techniques, so that they will be equipped to adopt a 2-5 mile stretch of the PCT.

At the end of June we have over 20 people signed up for a weekend work party at Stevens Pass. We'll work north from the highway out to the Wilderness boundary, clearing brush and performing tread and drainage maintenance. In September we'll have a couple of crews heading in deeper north of Stevens - one to Lake Vahlalla and the other to Lake Janus. Combined, these work parties should maintain over 10 miles of the PCT north of Stevens Pass.

In July our crew will log out the PCT from the Wilderness Boundary north of Snoqualmie Pass south to the north flanks of Blowout Mountain, over 35 miles, via a series of day trips. Then from August 2-9, we'll have a crew in Big Crow Basin working on tread and drainage.

The week after that we have over a dozen folks signed up already for a 4 day work party (Aug 14-17) to attack tread issues between Pyramid Peak and Blowout Mountain. The weekend of August 22-24 we'll work brush and drainage in the Stampede Pass area, continuing our work in this area from the past several years.

After taking the holiday weekend off, we'll have the above mentioned Stevens Pass back country crews at Stevens Pass, then resume having a series of single day projects in the greater Snoqualmie Pass area from mid September until the first snow of winter falls.

There is no cost to join our crew. On the multi day projects, we'll feed the crew from dinner the first night through lunch of the last day. All tools and hardhats are provided. No experience is necessary. Often times, we have tasks for every fitness level, from mellow (like snipping brush) to demanding (hauling buckets of rock and fill to build a turnpike, for example). Priorities are safety, a positive experience and only then, work.

The above schedule is just our crew in the Central and North Cascades. There will be volunteer crews up and down the PCT through the summer and on into the fall.

Interested in joining us? North350Blades@gmail.com or North350Blades@PCTA.org (either works, and both come to us). Find us on Facebook as well, search North350Blades.
North 350 Blades
 
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:15 pm

Re: It's Time.....

Postby North 350 Blades » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:40 pm

Update:

The Stewards training this weekend went very well. We have several new Stewards who have adopted sections of the PCT, plus a couple more who are out hiking sections they might want to adopt. Wuhoo!!!!

This coming weekends work party at Stevens Pass is FULL - with 23 people signed up for 2 days of work, we'll get a LOT done north of the pass. Great news from the scouting trip up there on Friday - no significant blowdowns, unlike the disaster of blowdown last year. We'll be able to focus all our time on improving trail conditions, instead of just keeping up with the damage from winter.

South of Snoqualmie Pass, last Thursday, a couple groups of our scouts covered 28 miles of trail looking for winter damage. Overall, things are in good shape. We found all the blowdown on these miles (23 trees in total, most of which are in the north 18 miles) - none of which will be too hard for our sawyers to deal with. We also located the areas that are most in need of work - thankfully, those are significantly reduced from when we started in 2010.

One thing this scouting revealed: Folks, if you've EVER considered wanting to "help out the hikers" with a cooler of food & drinks, or a water cache, reconsider the method but not the sentiment. Trail crew is, IMO, a more productive way to go. The scouts hiked through areas we worked in August and September of 2010, nearly 4 years ago, and they're still in great shape. That work from years ago, the time invested by the volunteers back then, is STILL paying dividends to this day in terms of a better hiking experience for ALL hikers - not just the few who get there until you run out of sodas or munchies. Want to help a hiker? Put down the coolers, take up the Pulaski's and loppers, put down the burger flipper and put away the grill, take up a crosscut and McLeod.
North 350 Blades
 
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:15 pm


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