The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

March 4, 2013

Trail coalition offers extensive training in wilderness stewardship


BREVARD, N.C. — The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS, a project of The Wilderness Society), and the United States Forest Service will provide extensive training in Wilderness management and stewardship at the third annual Wilderness Skills Institute from May 20 to May 31 at the Cradle of Forestry near Brevard, N.C. The institute is designed to provide practical information about designated wilderness, the skills necessary to work effectively in wilderness and the certifications required to implement those skills.

From theory to implementation, the Wilderness Skills Institute is a proven resource to volunteers, agency employees and non-profit staff.

From May 20 to May 24, participants have the option of three instruction tracks. Track one offers wilderness first aid and cross-cut saw certification. Track two, for advanced participants, includes a cross-cut sharpening course instructed by nationally renowned traditional skills specialist Dolly Chapman. Track three includes a wilderness ranger session focusing on field safety, Leave No Trace, public contacts and recreation use monitoring as well as a wilderness manager session focusing on minimum requirements analysis and wilderness character monitoring among other topics. All tracks come together for discussions of wilderness theory and legislation with some of the nation’s most experienced stewards.

From May 28 to May 31, training will be offered in three tracks. The trail maintenance track teaches the theory, skills and provides hands-on instruction necessary to maintain and repair wilderness trails. The trail construction track will teach the philosophy, design, standards, and techniques for constructing trails in designated wilderness. The third track option, trail management, focuses on the laws/legal requirements affecting trails on federal lands, including planning, design and layout, maintenance and construction (conceptual), visitor experience and monitoring.

Registration is free and camping near the Cradle of Forestry is provided.

For more information about this training course, contact Andrew Downs or Bill Hodge.

To register or for more information visit www.trailcrews.org/wilderness-skills-institute.