Come on down! No experience required! That’s right, you just need a smile, a good attitude, and the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance stewardship events aren’t just about clearing trail. They are also about educating folks on trail maintenance techniques and the appropriate measures to utilize them safely.
Each OTTA stewardship day starts with a discussion of the scope of the day’s work, responsibilities, logistics, hazards (JHA), and a safety plan. We will spend time talking about expectations and providing instruction on what needs to be done as well as how to do it. Typically we break up into daily 5-7 person work crews who are assigned to a specific area and tasks. Regardless of their grizzled appearance, our crew leaders are approachable folks who are there to make sure everyone has the tools and guidance they need to feel comfortable, stay safe, and get the job done. If there is a question on how something should be done, get with your crew leader and they’ll get you rolling.
So what’s with this “PPE”?
When volunteering on United States Forest Service lands we are required to have and use the following Personal Protective Equipment. (PPE) If you do not have or are not using these items you WILL NOT be allowed to participate. Sorry, them’s the rules. We will be strict about them.
- Hard hat with 6-point suspension (The webbing inside should attach at 6 points. No, a bike helmet does NOT suffice)
- Eye protection/safety glasses
- Full-finger gloves
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Sturdy shoes/boots
NOTE that the above list are the minimum PPE requirements. Some jobs necessitate additional protections which will be communicated when covering the scope of work each day.
In addition to the required Personal Protective Equipment listed above it’s a good idea to bring snacks, enough water for the day or a way to purify, sunscreen (if needed), bug juice (almost always needed), spare clothes if you are a sweater, either a paper map or one downloaded on your phone, a small first aid kit, and a positive attitude. Additionally, we don’t go into the woods without the 10 essentials… you shouldn’t either!
So you want to bring a chainsaw...
For those of you who will be running a chainsaw (don’t worry, you’ll know ahead of time) the Forest Service requires the following in addition to the previous list:
- Current S212 Sawyer Certification (NOTE - Sawyer cards are typically valid for 3 years.)
- Current First Aid and CPR Certification (NOTE - CPR/FA cards generally valid for 2 years.)
- An understanding of your sawyer certification level and its limitations
- Chainsaw chaps that meet the Forest Service Specification 6170-4F (look at the tag)
- Ear protection
- Heavy, cut-resistant gloves
- Heavy, cut-resistant boots at least 8" high
- Plastic wedges
- Approved fuel containers
- Saw fuel (you can mix your own 50:1 ratio, or buy premix. The premix brands typically have a longer shelf life but cost more.)
- Bar oil
- Saw tool kit (spare chain, scrench, small screw driver, file for chain sharpening)
- First aid kit
- A well-running chainsaw
While it’s easy to focus on safety when we’re out working, we tend to forget about what else could go wrong. One of our main risks is traveling to and from our work areas and to camp. We travel on sometimes obscure forest roads with blind corners, downed trees across the road (ask anyone who was at the Fremont Stewardship Campout in 2017!), snow drifts, and large angry bears. It’s important to remember to focus on driving while we’re on the road and not get distracted. Buckle up, take your time getting to camp and to your daily work zones, and arrive alive! This all may sound like a buzzkill but our primary objective is to make it back home in one piece. Trail work, whisky, and camp vibes are all secondary.
Without motivated volunteers like yourself there is a good chance you’d be carrying your bike through a sea of deadfall and brush on almost every ride. Thank you for volunteering your time to help maintain and improve the trails we all enjoy.
Now get on over to www.oregontimbertrail.org/events and sign up!
If you have any questions about the above, please email us.
See you on the trail!