USFS Volunteer Chainsaw and Crosscut Saw Certification
Trails in the National Forests require periodic maintenance.  This task is primarily handled by volunteers.  In order to work as as volunteer, you must sign a USFS Volunteer Agreement with the District(s) where you plan to work.  If you are a member of a trail organization, your organization can submit a USFS Volunteer Agreement along with a membership list instead of individual agreements. Although many task such as cleaning water bars and turnouts, trimming back foliage, and tread repair are usually done on a yearly basis for a given trail, the removal of trees that fall across the trail is an ongoing process year round.  Chainsaws are the primary tool used for this purpose except for Wilderness areas.  Wilderness trail maintenance requires that crews use only traditional tools, so Crosscut Saws are used instead of Chainsaws. In order to use a Chainsaw or Crosscut Saw on National Forest lands, in addition to the Volunteer Agreement you must be certified as a USFS Sawyer by attending a certification class.  In order to attend the certification class and receive your Sawyer Card, you must show proof that you have a current CPR/First Aid Class issued by a nationally recognized organization.  (Red Cross, ASHI, Hospital, Paramedic, etc.)  A USFS Volunteer is considered a Forest Service employee while performing trail work when they have met these requirements and are eligible for Worksman’s Compensation. The Sawyer certification class is the Chainsaw and Crosscut Saw Training Course developed by the USFS Missoula Technology and Development Center. (MTDC)  Although Chainsaw training and Crosscut Saw training are different classes, the Student Guide for these classes is in the same document.
Apprentice Sawyer - “A” Sawyers have completed the nationally approved classroom and field training for general saw work (such as bucking, limbing, and the first basic steps in felling) or specialized uses. (such as construction, maintenance, and fencing)  Generally they are trained at the local unit and must be supervised by a B or C level Sawyer during saw work activity, which may include slashing and felling in the least complex situations.  During certification, the certifier has the authority to impose restrictions on Apprentice Sawyers as deemed necessary based on the skills demonstrated. Intermediate Sawyer - “B” Sawyers are skilled saw operators capable of performing saw tasks as specified on their certification card without Supervision.  Intermediate Sawyers are not permitted to certify other Sawyers.  The certifier has the authority to impose restrictions on Intermediate Sawyers as deemed necessary based on the skills demonstrated. Advanced Sawyer -  “C” Sawyers are approved to handle complex sawing and felling operations, include fire line construction.  They are qualified to conduct classroom and field training at the A and B level.  They are not alowed to certify at the C level. C Sawyer Certifiers - “C Certifiers” are Advanced Sawyers who have been further trained through a formal Regional Saw Program to organize and conduct field certification sessions.  They have demonstrated communication skills, the ability to transfer and relate concepts to others and current knowledge of policy and regulations pertaining to saws and related equipments. All saw certifications expire three (3) years from the date of issue. Once certified, a sawyer must utilize the proper Personal Protective Equiment (PPE) when using a saw.  Depending on whether the user is utilizing a Chainsaw or Crosscut Saw, this includes a Forest Service approved hardhat, eye protection, hearing protection, leather gloves, long-sleeved shirt, Chainsaw chaps, and 8” water repellent or waterproof boots.  In addition to the appropriate PPE, some general equipment is recommended as well, such as as a Type IV First Aid Kit, Chainsaw wrench, filing tools, fuel safety container, oil container, appropriate wedges, a single or double bit axe and a maul. (3-5 lbs)
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