Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

Bucking it Out – Wilderness style

OREGON – With a raft of winter and spring storms there was plenty of trail to clear in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness this season, but one giant and downed Douglas fir proved to be the crosscut saw exercise of a lifetime.

Blocking the ever popular Jefferson Lake Trail, a plan was quickly put into place to have a crew cut out a section of the tree, and Deschutes and Willamette National Forest employees were eager to show how using so-called primitive tools like the crosscut saw could still be a viable choice, even after all of these years.

Lighter weight, nonmechanized and easy to transport, crosscut saws don’t use fuel and were once used extensively across the Forest Service system. And for the group of ten Forest Service employees and volunteers led by McKenzie River Trail Crew Leader Wayne Chevalier, it was the tool of choice for a six-hour exercise in effectiveness.

“It was an impressive effort, a true group project and I applaud leadership for giving us the nod to take care of this Wilderness tree the way it should be - by using the minimum necessary,” Acting Wilderness Specialist Drew Peterson said. “If you get the opportunity, take a hike in and experience this tree,” he continued. “The scale is impressive, and the bucked piece alone weighs an estimated 8,000 lbs!”

Men standing on top of fallen giant tree, cutting it
Standing on top of the downed tree, a participant observes while two others take their turn with a crosscut saw. USDA Forest Service photo by Drew Peterson.


Group of men holding hand saw, standing betwwen parts of a chopped, giant tree
Ten smiling faces after six solid hours of work in the Wilderness. USDA Forest Service photo by Drew Peterson.
Man cutting down fallen giant tree
Crosscut saws weigh less than chainsaws and don’t require fuel. USDA Forest Service photo by Drew Peterson.