filed under: skills & competencies


National Crosscut and Chainsaw Program

The National Crosscut and Chainsaw Program was created to train smart volunteer and professional sawyers across the nation.

photo credit: Pexels

Sawyers are vital to the trail world, as they are responsible for sawing timber, clearing brush and tripping hazards, and more. Such an important job requires well trained and responsible sawyers. The United States Forest Service (USFS) created the National Crosscut and Chainsaw Program to help train and certify sawyers for trail work.

Trail crews have shrunk in size over the last several years, and often only consist of 4 – 5 people, making it difficult to keep up with trail maintenance. Part of tackling this issue is certifying volunteer sawyers, and additionally training trail stewards to be able to train others in the field. This model allows for sawyer training to be available to people across the nation, and critically, allows the establishment of sawyer training opportunities outside of the traditional cadre of USFS trainers. This builds our nation's capacity by including skilled sawyer trainers working in nonprofits, volunteer groups, and for profit companies.

As the Forest Service explains, “The new Forest Service saw policy directs the use of chainsaws and crosscut saws on National Forest System lands. Forest Service employees, volunteers, partners, and other cooperators can now access consistent training, evaluation, and certification.”

The USFS website specifies the Sawyer Certification Levels available.

Forest Service employees, volunteers, partners, and cooperators can obtain 4 levels of certification for chainsaw and crosscut saw operation under the new saw policy:

  1. Sawyer trainee
  2. A Sawyer
  3. B Sawyer
  4. C Sawyer

The USFS website also announced, “New crosscut and chainsaw training modules will be available soon. The module-based training focuses on ‘Developing a Thinking Sawyer’ and emphasizes risk management, human factors, and sawyer safety. Forest Service sawyers can still attend approved training courses until the new program is finalized.”

Published March 2021

More Articles in this Category

Trail Building in the Ozarks

This manual was created to accompany the Crew Leader training program developed by the Ozark Trail Association (OTA). It serves as an aid to volunteer Crew Leaders working with other volunteers to build and maintain single-track natural surface trails in the Ozarks region of Missouri. This manual is designed to serve as a baseline for trail construction and maintenance and as an introduction to leading small groups of volunteers on natural surface trail construction and maintenance events.

Outdoor-Industry Jobs

This study was intended to assess current—and projected—employment levels across these sectors with a particular focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) oriented occupations that require “mid-level” education and skills. This education includes post-high school training but stops short of a bachelor’s degree,3 opening the door to a greater number of students who are not focused exclusively on four-year degrees. The study was also designed to identify employer demand for occupations within these four sectors.

What Can I do with a Major in Natural Resources & Tourism?

The information in this article describes typical occupations and employers associated with this major. Some of the options listed below may require additional training. Moreover, you are not limited to these options alone when choosing a possible career path.

Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Careers Toolkit

Choose your outdoor career path! Get started by asking yourself some very basic questions. Even though you might not be able to answer all of them, it is a good first step to narrow down what you really want to do. Ready? Let’s go!