The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance held an eight-hour training class on safe use of chainsaws on Friday, January 17. The class was taught by Texas A&M Forest Service staff member, Curtis Colton, who is authorized to train those who want to become certified sawyers. Curtis conducted four hours of class time before the participants went into the field to employ what they learned. Saw maintenance, use of protective equipment, felling skills, limbing and bucking technique and general situational awareness were key topics for the afternoon session.
It is important to note that SMGA does not desire to promote chainsaw use by the trailcrew, but when there is no other alternative, being safe is of prime importance. The crew periodically has very large trees across the trail and substantial numbers of large ligustrum to remove. Those are two instances when a trained chainsaw crew may be deployed.
At the end of this training, we now have 10 certified sawyers on the trail crew. We hope to do periodic refresher classes. Establishing operational practices that assure safe, though infrequent chainsaw use is a prime goal of SMGA.