Celebrating 50 years of the PCT
as a National Scenic Trail.

North Cascades Trail Skills College

Volunteer students and instructors at the 2017 North Cascades Trail Skills College. Photo by Loren Schmidt.

2018 North Cascades Trail Skills Colleges

Trail Skills Colleges will take place throughout the year in the North Cascades. Instead of one long-weekend training with multiple class offerings, this year volunteers will have the opportunity to join more events and gain experience along different sections of trail!

2018 Trail Skills College offerings will include Intro to Trail Maintenance, 103 Basic Saw Crew Training, Crosscut and Chainsaw Training and Certification, and more.

Upcoming Trail Skills Colleges

The complete list of courses

Recommendations for first-time trail maintainers

If you’re brand new to trail maintenance, we suggest the following courses:

More details

Details on each class are available in the links above. Links may direct you to a new webpage, or to the information below.

  • April 28: Advanced Trail Reconstruction on the Huckleberry Trail
    • This is an advanced course of tread reconstruction taught in the field with Bridget Wisniewski of the Darrington Ranger District. The aim of this training is to familiarize North 350 Blades members with some key concept of trail revival work in support of our long-term efforts to address the significant amounts of deferred maintenance in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Participants can expect to learn some new trail building tricks from one of the most experienced trail managers in Washington and thoughtful conversation about the art of tread rehabilitation. Email [email protected] if you would like to participate. Space is limited.
  • May 12: Puncheon Construction on the Middle Fork Trail. This has been postponed due to landslide. We hope to reschedule it for September 2018.
    • Building wooden puncheon on the PCT is fairly uncommon because the remote location of the trail makes maintaining wooden structures expensive and time consuming. However, in meadows and other boggy areas trail structures are sometimes required. In this course, students will work to replace the decking on an existing section of puncheon along the Middle Fork Trail. Key terminology will be discussed, along with USFS standards.
  • July 7: Advanced 200 Trail Design at Stevens Pass
    • This course is an introduction to laying out new trail. Yet, its concepts are helpful to anyone who is interested in doing durable trail construction. At its core, this class covers how good design and layout makes trails more sustainable and less prone to erosion. Additionally, the course introduces student to trail surveying. This class will begin with classroom instruction and then move into the field for hands-on practice. Email [email protected] if you would like to participate. Space is limited.

How do I register for Trail Skills College?

Registration instructions for each class are available in the links above.

What’s the fitness level of Trail Skills College?

The fitness level will vary depending on the classes you select. However, all participants should be prepared to hike a minimum of 1-2 miles while carrying personal gear and tools. Participants should also be prepared for the hands-on learning opportunities in these classes, resulting in 6-8 hours of active trail maintenance per day.

Can’t wait?

Don’t forget, Trail Skills Colleges are offered free of charge in an effort to inspire citizen stewardship of trails. In exchange for attending trainings, we encourage you to volunteer at least 16 hours of work on trail projects in the coming year. You can always learn new trail maintenance skills by volunteering on a PCTA trail crew. Most crews don’t require any previous trail maintenance experience. Knowledgeable and experienced crew leaders are on site to teach you the necessary skills. Visit the online project schedule and North 350 Blades Facebook to find trail projects near you.

If you have questions about Trail Skills Colleges, contact the Volunteer Programs Assistant at 916-285-1838 or [email protected].

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