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Local Trail Volunteers Sharpen their Skills with Crosscut Saws and Axes

Highland Recorder Press Release

April 29, 2021

PATC volunteers in the field during training.

Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) partnered with local Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) volunteers and the U.S. Forest Service to provide valuable crosscut saw training to help grow the capacity to maintain wilderness trails in the Shenandoah Mountain area on April 9-11, at Hone Quarry Recreation Area.

PATC volunteers met with SAWS trainers at Hone Quarry in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests to learn how to safely remove downed trees with crosscut saws and axes. By the end of the weekend, nine volunteers, two Forest Service employees, and one SAWS employee received the certification necessary to use crosscut saws independently in national forests. The volunteers are from Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Rockingham, Augusta, and Highland counties.

PATC volunteers maintain 90 miles of trails in the North River Ranger District and volunteered over 3,500 hours during the past year to provide safe access. This training will give the club the skills necessary to keep trails cleared in remote areas of the forest like Ramseys Draft Wilderness, allowing safe access to these places by the hiking public.

Congressionally-designated wilderness areas, like Ramseys Draft, demand a specific management approach that minimizes mankind’s influence on the land. To that end, the law requires the use of traditional tools, like crosscut saws and axes, rather than chainsaws, to remove fallen trees and logs from trails. Proper training and certification is required to safely use these tools on national forests and SAWS is a nationally recognized provider of that training.

This training was made possible by the generous support of the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), Toyota Motor North America, IP, and the Hilton Effect Foundation.


Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, cultivating, and empowering an engaged public and the next generation in the stewardship of public lands in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Arkansas. SAWS believes that taking care of our public lands and connecting them to the next generation matters. We also believe that it is our shared responsibility to care for these lands, and to educate, train, and develop a skilled workforce to be the next conservation stewards and conservation leaders. Through stewardship jobs and volunteerism, workforce development, education, partnerships, and community engagement, SAWS is working to build wilderness relevancy, connect more people with meaningful, transformational experiences on public lands, and increase equitable access to the outdoors. Learn more at Contact: Eric Giebelstein, SAWS Regional Director,, (563) 210-4569

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), through volunteer efforts, education, and advocacy, acquires, maintains, and protects the trail and lands of the Appalachian Trail, other trails, and related facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Learn more at PATC maintains trails in the North River and Lee Ranger Districts in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. Contact: Lynn Cameron, PATC North River District Manager,, (540) 830-4524 (cell) or (540) 234-6273 (home)

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