About the Forest

2018 Salmon-Challis National Forest Crosscut Saw Program Annual Report

By Bryan Parker, Salmon-Challis National Forest Crosscut Saw Program Coordinator

The 2018 crosscut saw training season began with two members of the Treasure Valley Backcountry Horseman, long-term volunteers Joe Williams and Keith Lambrecht, completing a training and certification with C Sawyer Evaluator Bryan Parker along Bear Creek.

Two people cross cutting a log in a rocky area.

Treasure Valley Backcountry Horseman Joe Williams and Keith Lambrecht up Bear Creek.

On May 23, Bryan Parker and Raina Phillips presented a classroom portion of a crosscut saw training and certification for 30 Salmon-Challis National Forest employees. Field training and certifications were held at Garden Creek starting later that day and wrapping up on the 25th. C sawyers Kent Weaver, Joe Getty, Jim Pierson, and Bill Pierson, along with Wilderness Manager Jay Sammer assisted with the training. Participants included members of the Ramshorn Fire Module, Salmon Airbase, Challis Helitack, Engine 622, Engine 641, and employees of the Middle Fork Ranger District Wilderness Program. This training session resulted in 13 A level sawyers, 4 B level sawyers, 3 C recertification’s, and one new C sawyer.

Fire staff watching while two people sawyer a tree.

Salmon-Challis National Forest fire staff at the certification session along Garden Creek on May 24.

Bryan Parker and Raina Phillips conducted a crosscut saw training at the Dagger Falls Campground for members of the Middle Fork River Patrol and Checkers on June 13-15. The training continued on while clearing the Middle Fork and Marsh Creek Trails with members of the Treasure Valley Backcountry Horseman and Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation staff. Six employees were certified for crosscut saw bucking at the B level during this time.

C Evaluators Bryan Parker and Jay Dorr conducted a Regional C level crosscut certification session hosted on the Sawtooth National Forest on October 29- 1. The session began at the Sawtooth Valley Work Center and cutting took place in the nearby Sawtooth National Recreation Area up Champion Creek. The session began with a discussion of the new National Saw Policy (FSM 2358 and the FS Saw Operations Guide), review of crosscut saw Job Hazard Analysis, situational awareness, saw sharpening and maintenance, discussion of emergency medical/evacuation/communication plan, a review of the crosscut saw operator field evaluation form, and certification card process. Twelve sawyers from a variety of national forest units and one non-agency (The Sawtooth Society) sawyer participated in bucking and felling of complex trees. At the conclusion of the session, 5 new C level certifications, 3 C sawyer recertification’s, and one C Sawyer Evaluator certifications were issued.

Three sawyers standing around a large tree.

Salmon-Challis National Forest C Sawyers Jay Sammer, Harrison Stone, and Geoff Fast.

There were no reported crosscut saw related injuries on the Forest this year. Crosscut saws were used effectively to clear approximately 180 miles of trail on the Middle Fork Ranger District and over 189 miles of trail on the North Zone of the Salmon-Challis National Forest.  This work was accomplished by Forest Service employees, the Selway-Bitterroot-Frank Church Foundation, Treasure Valley Backcountry Horseman, the Montana Conservation Corps, the Student Conservation Association, Wild Idaho Outfitters, Middle Fork Outfitters, The Idaho Conservation Corps and others.

Two sawyers cross cutting a tree.

C Sawyer Evaluator Geoff Fast and a Sawtooth National Forest employee near Champion Creek.

Two employees cross cutting a tree that fell over a trail.

Middle Fork River Patrol and Wilderness Rangers clearing the Marsh Creek Trail at the June 15th training.