North Cascades Saw Training and Certification

Photo by Don Sanderson.

The Pacific Crest Trail Association and U.S. Forest Service invite you to the North Cascades Saw Training and Certification events. Qualified participants can earn crosscut and chainsaw certifications and re-certifications. These saw trainings are possible thanks to safety and operation agreements with the U.S. Forest Service. These events are open to PCTA volunteers and members only. The PCTA saw program only certifies sawyers for bucking operations. 

Copies of current First Aid and CPR certifications must be presented to attend PCTA saw certification events and 297 Chainsaw Practicum classes. The application process is very competitive. Submitting your application does not guarantee admission into the training. Learn more about PCTA’s Saw Training and Certification program.

When and where are the 2023 events?

March 19th (two sessions): North Cascades First Aid/CPR (Snoqualmie Pass, WA)

April 7th & 8th (two classes): Trail Skills: 103 Basic Saw Crew Training (North Bend, WA)

April 15th: Ax Skill Builder (Darrington, WA) Register here.

April 16th: Women’s Chainsaw Practicum (Darrington, WA) Register here. 

April 17th: Crosscut Practicum (Darrington, WA) Register here.

April 29th-30th: Crosscut/Chainsaw Recertification, Crosscut Initial Certification (Darrington, WA)

May 6th-7th: Crosscut Initial Certification (North Bend, WA) Register here. 

More TBD!

More details about the events

April 7th/8th in North Bend — 103 Basic Saw Crew Training

Basic Saw Crew Training is an introductory course and does not include a certification. This class provides field experience with crosscut saws and axes, but most of the principles are also applicable to chainsaws. Therefore, this class is the place to start, no matter what trail clearing tools you expect to use in the future. This course is excellent as a prerequisite to becoming certified as a crosscut sawyer if you haven’t had much field experience on saws with trail crews and are interested in getting certified.

April 15th-17th in Darrington

Ax Skill Builder: This class is for all skill levels, but particularly targeted for those who would like to feel more confident and competent. It’s a chance to get together and practice with the tools we love…or could love if we got to know them better. Join us out in the woods for a day to celebrate the joy of chopping wood!

Women’s Chainsaw Practicum: This is a skill building class for women to get familiar with handling the chainsaw. It is appropriate for those with little or no experience. We will cover starting the saw, body positioning, some basic information about binds in trees, and different types of cuts, and cleaning the saws at the end of the day. We’ll take our time and make sure everyone is included and comfortable.

Crosscut Practicum: This a field (in the woods) training for crosscut saw use. This class is usually offered to those who have not completed a certification class in order to gain some hands-on experience prior to certification. The class is also open to those who might already have crosscut certification but would like to have some expert guidance on perfecting their technique and their body mechanics in order to pull the saw with more ease.

April 29th-30th in Darrington

This training is for:

  • Crosscut sawyers seeking initial certification (two-day class required),
  • Crosscut sawyers seeking re-certification, or
  • Chainsaw sawyers seeking re-certification

Overnight accommodations are available for this training.

If you are re-certifying, you must have completed the online classroom portion of the course before attending the in-person field evaluation at this event. To learn about upcoming online classroom trainings, please email [email protected].

Please note: The PCTA saw program only certifies sawyers for bucking operations. Copies of current First Aid and CPR certifications must be presented to register.

May 5th-6th in North Bend

This is a two day Crosscut Saw Certification event for those that would like to become certified as an ‘A Crosscut Sawyer’ or advance their A certification to a ‘B Crosscut Sawyer’. We will also be able to Re-Cert those Crosscut Sawyers with expiring certifications.

Please note: The PCTA saw program only certifies sawyers for bucking operations. Copies of current First Aid and CPR certifications must be presented to register.

Do I need a current First Aid and CPR card for saw certification?

Yes. PCTA staff and volunteers cannot operate chain or crosscut saws unless they hold a recognized and valid sawyer certification, First Aid, and CPR card. PCTA must have copies of current First Aid and CPR qualifications in order to issue saw certification. After applying for North Cascades saw trainings, applicants will need to submit copies of their certification cards to the PCTA Sacramento office by email or mail ([email protected]; 2150 River Plaza Drive, Suite 155, Sacramento, CA  95833).

Please note: First Aid and CPR are required for all sawyers except for crosscut saw trainees who are operating under the supervision of another sawyer. OSHA states in Appendix B of 1910.266 that First Aid and CPR training shall be conducted using the conventional methods of training such as lecture, demonstration, practical exercise and examination (both written and practical). The length of training must be sufficient to assure that trainees understand the concepts of first aid and can demonstrate their ability to perform the various procedures. A sawyer must take First Aid/CPR classes which are taught hands-on and with a knowledge test. Online First Aid/CPR courses do not meet these requirements.

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