SAWS wins 2021 PATC Appreciation Award


SAWS was awarded the 2021 Appreciation Award from Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) on November 16th. We were nominated for our 2021 crosscut and tread maintenance training events completed in partnership with the PATC-North River Ranger District volunteers and the North River Ranger District of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. This training was made possible by a grant awarded by National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).


This is the second consecutive year SAWS was awarded the PATC Appreciation Award. Read about the trainings in the full nomination below. If you or your organization would like to partner with SAWS for training, please reach out to our lead trainer, Scotty Bowman at scottybowman@wildernessstewards.org.


"Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) has contributed significantly to PATC’s North River District this year by providing training for crosscut saw and axe work and a separate training for tread work. SAWS received the PATC Appreciation Award in 2020, but we are nominating them again because of their extraordinary contributions this year.


1. Crosscut saw training and certification – SAWS trained 9 PATC trail maintainers to use crosscut saws safely and efficiently in spring of 2021. This was made more challenging because of COVID. SAWS conducted two 1-day pre-evaluation field sessions in March so that our volunteers could be broken into two groups to keep everyone safe and to provide everyone with more hands-on experience. After these field sessions, SAWS conducted a 4-hour Zoom session on April 9 to cover basics. Then they conducted a training and evaluation on April 10-11 at Hone Quarry. This resulted in all 9 trail maintainers becoming Crosscut Level B Sawyers. Our District volunteers had been waiting over a decade to be certified for crosscut use in the National Forest. The National Forest had been unable to provide this training, and SAWS was able to do it. In fact they trained and certified two GWNF staff members, too. This certification is important because PATC maintains all the trails in Ramseys Draft Wilderness and will be maintaining additional Wilderness trails when Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area legislation is enacted.

2. Tread Work Training – At our request, SAWS conducted a 2-day Tread work training for 6 North River trail maintainers on June 19-20. It is difficult for our volunteers to take advantage of PATC training because of the distance. SAWS was able to send two instructors from North Carolina to conduct this training locally. We have a great deal of tread work to do in our district, and we greatly appreciated their willingness to travel to our area to offer it. We spent one day on Shenandoah Mountain Trail and the second day on Crawford Knob Trail. We dug out sidehill and build two retaining walls and extended two switchbacks to get a better grade. SAWS provided us with instructional handouts for future reference.


North River District and SSVC have had a long partnership with SAWS, but their help this year was really extraordinary.


Thank you.


Lynn and Malcolm Cameron

PATC North River District Managers"

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