Tahoe Trail Skills College

New and seasoned trail maintainers head to the summit to build their skill sets at the 2017 Tahoe Trail Skills College. Photo by Cindy Leggett.

2022 Tahoe Trail Skills College

The Tahoe Trail Skills College is a free weekend event for volunteers to learn about trail maintenance and stewardship. Beginners and experts alike can benefit from Trail Skills College courses like Intro to Trail Maintenance, Waterbars & Checks and more.

Trail Skills College is offered free of charge in an effort to inspire stewardship of trails. In exchange for attending the training, we encourage you to volunteer at least 16 hours of work on trail projects in the coming year.

The 2022 Tahoe Trail Skills College is possible thanks to the U.S. Forest Service.

Registration is now open! Register by clicking here. 

When is it?

Classes will take place on June 25th and 26th, 2022. Participants are invited to join us on the evening of the 24th and camp overnight.

Where is it?

The main event & camping will take place at the Hobart Work Center, just north of Truckee, CA. Individual courses will take place at various trailheads in the area.

How much does it cost?

Trail Skills College is free of charge.

Are meals and lodging provided?

Meals will be provided on Saturday (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) and Sunday (Breakfast, Lunch). Please note your dietary restrictions on your volunteer profile when registering.

Camping will be provided on Friday and Saturday nights, on-site at Hobart Work Center. The campground will have water, bathrooms, and parking.

Can I just attend for one day?

No- all classes at this year’s event are two-day courses, so partial attendance will not be possible.

What’s the fitness level of Trail Skills College?

The fitness level of the field sessions will vary depending on the classes you select during registration. 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 many of these classes, resulting in 6 hours of active trail maintenance per day.

What classes are being offered?

The following classes will be offered in 2022:

Intended for those new to trail work who want to learn how to cut brush and small logs to help clear a trail to proper specifications. After discussion of general safety protocols, students learn about safe and effective use of hand saws and loppers. This class also includes how to complete an early season trail survey to identify and report major problems, especially blown down logs, by their number, location, and size.

Learn how to design and locate effective drainage structures. After a comprehensive explanation of hillside hydrology and how trails work when they shed water properly, this class shows students how to design and construct long, rolling drain dips as a way of reducing erosion on existing trails.

Where earthen rolling drain dips are not feasible, drainage features
are sometimes armored using rock or log. Learn contemporary techniques to build water bars. The class will include a review of “old school” waterbars, and how to convert “old school” waterbars to a more effective design. Furthermore, learn how to install rock and log checks where tread is gullied and cannot be drained, or in other situations requiring tread armoring

Learn fundamentals of rock construction including an emphasis on effective and safe use of rock bars, the critical tool for all rock work. We’ll tackle basic rock placement techniques for rock walls to last the ages. 

This session covers the fundamentals of Crosscut Saw use. It focuses on hazard assessment, safety procedures, saw selection and tooth patterns, the importance of axes and wedges, and the best practices for clearing trail effectively in challenging and potentially hazardous situations. This course consists of one classroom day and one field day clearing trail. The instructor will determine the certification level. Long-sleeve shirt, pants, leather boots, eye protection, gloves and hard hats are required. Gloves and hard hats will be available for those who don’t have them. Bring a saw if you have one.  A current CPR and 1st Aid card are required to take Saw certification classes.

Each session will follow enhanced Covid-19 safety protocols.

How do I register?

Registration is now open, please use this link to register: https://connect.pcta.org/volunteer/s/skills-college-event/a1n5w0000057bVu

Can’t wait?

Don’t forget, you can learn new trail maintenance skills by volunteering on a PCTA trail crew any time. 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 PCTA’s online schedule to find trail projects near you.

If you have questions about Trail Skills College, contact PCTA’s Volunteer Program at [email protected].

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