Wind River Saw Training and Certification Weekend

Columbia Cascades Saw Skills CollegeThe Pacific Crest Trail Association and U.S. Forest Service invite you to the Wind River Saw Training and Certification Weekend. Participants can earn crosscut and chain saw certifications or re-certifications. This saw training and operation is possible thanks to safety and operation agreements with the U.S. Forest Service. This event is open to PCTA volunteers and members only.

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

When is it?

Multiple crosscut and chainsaw training and certification events were planned for 2020 and 2021. However, many were postponed due to COVID-19 and the deep concern for the health and safety of our PCT community and beyond. Below you’ll find details about the Wind River event as it was originally planned.

Where is it?

20 minutes north of Cascade Locks at the Wind River Training Center, Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Registration is required. 

Are lodging and meals provided?

Plenty of car camping space is available, with access to the bunkhouse kitchen, showers and restroom. Limited rooms in the bunkhouse are available. Participants are responsible for their own meals. Rustic kitchen facilities with refrigerator will be available in the bunkhouse and accessible to all participants. Lunch meals will be taken in the field.

What certifications are being offered?

Chain Saw and Crosscut Re-certification

Chain saw and crosscut saw re-certifications are separate classes, each taking about six hours. While not required, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own equipment, as long as it complies to the Saw Safety requirements. Re-certifications are available on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4. We will support dual re-certification and will work with these volunteers to be able to complete the dual certifications in one day. Please note: The PCTA saw program only certifies sawyers for bucking operations.

Initial Saw Certification

Initial crosscut and chain saw certification classes are two-day classes. These classes are intended for initial saw certification of individuals with moderate saw experience applying for A level certification or experienced A level sawyers now ready to apply for B level certification. Volunteers will be grouped to allow B level candidates to demonstrate saw crew leadership and saw skills. While not required, B level candidates are encouraged to bring their own equipment. Initial certifications will take place Saturday-Sunday, April 4-5. Please note: The PCTA saw program only certifies sawyers for bucking operations.

Do I need a current First Aid and CPR card?

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 completing your online application for the Wind River Saw Training, applicants will need to submit copies of their certification cards to the PCTA Sacramento office by email or mail ([email protected]; 1331 Garden Highway Suite 230, 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.

What gear do I need?

Students are required to wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves, and leather, over the ankle, cut-resistant boots (no mesh). See descriptions and images of acceptable footwear for sawyers here. Saw specific Personal Protective Equipment and tools will be provided, but students are encouraged to bring their own personal PPE (gloves, eye protection, hearing protection). You are welcome to bring your own saw equipment, but it is not necessary.

More questions?

Please forward questions pertaining to saw training and certification to [email protected].


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