Chainsaw School Comes to Wildlands

By Karen Grey

 Land Stewardship Coordinator, Tommy Blanchard, working under the direction of chainsaw safety trainer, Bill Girard.

Land Stewardship Coordinator, Tommy Blanchard, working under the direction of chainsaw safety trainer, Bill Girard.

Chainsaws are high speed, fast cutting tools with the potential to cause serious injury and because of that, Wildlands enforces a strict policy for their use on our properties. All Wildlands staff using chainsaws must attain safety certification that requires participation in a 16-hour chainsaw training course. Under normal weather circumstances, Stewardship Director, Erik Boyer, and part-time Land Steward, Owen Grey, both certified chainsaw users, can keep up with Wildlands’ tree work; however, the March 2018 storms were anything but normal. By late March, with an estimated 150 trees needing to be cleaned up, our small Wildlands crew was overwhelmed with work.

“We conducted a rapid assessment of our highly visited properties so we could close down trails with unsafe trees,” said Boyer. “That’s all we could do. We knew we had months of work to do.”

But next time, we will be better prepared! Partnering with Mass Audubon, which was also feeling the pinch of too much tree work and not enough trained staff, we brought in Game of Logging Instructor, William Girard, to hold a 2-day training program at Davis-Douglas Farm. The result: 8 new certified chainsaw users from Mass Audubon and Wildlands Trust.