The 2023 Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute will be held from May 22 – 26, 2023 in Powell, Idaho. It will start at 1pm PT on Monday and conclude at 3pm PT on Friday. All participants are expected to sign up for the entire week. To allow for flexibility in sessions this year you are allowed to register for one session on Tuesday and Wednesday and one session on Thursday and Friday. You must register for two sessions and stay for the entire week. The exception to this will be the “Train the Trainer: Crosscut Saw and Axemanship” course because this is a week-long session. Monday will consist of a plenary day for all participants.
COST: There is no cost to attend.
FOOD: On your own – no food provided. Participants will handle their own meals. Cooking facilities may be provided – more information will be provided ahead of the event.
APPLICATION WINDOW CLOSED
- Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training class “Wilderness Act of 1964” online class – http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/elearning
This online course is required to be taken before attending the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute. This is a free class, which includes reading short narratives, listening to audio, interactive graphics, and quizzes. The purpose of The Wilderness Act of 1964 course is to acquaint you with the contents of this law and equip you to consider its impact in managing a wilderness area; this is foundational material relevant to everyone working in wilderness stewardship. We have designed the sessions at the Wilderness Skills Institute assuming you have already taken this class and have learned this foundational material. Feedback from past students has shown that most people prefer to take this class on their own before the full session, so that they can go at their own pace and have time to reflect on what they learned. The average time it takes students is 2.5 hours. You can stop and start the class anytime you want – you don’t have to take it all at once. Once at the Wilderness Skills Institute, please be prepared to discuss what you learned from the class, what surprised you, and what was the most important thing you got from the curriculum.
|Train the Trainer: Crosscut Saw & Axemanship
|Introduction to Wilderness Stewardship
|Basic Wilderness Trail Maintenance
|Basic Wilderness Trail Maintenance
|Trail Bridge Inspection Field Certification Breakout Session
|Crosscut Saw B Bucking, A Falling
|Advanced Wilderness Stewardship
|Defensive Horsemanship/Introduction to Horse Packing
|Advanced Wilderness Trail Maintenance
- Train the Trainer: Crosscut Saw and Axemanship
Lead Instructor: Adam Washebek (U.S. Forest Service)
- Current First Aid/CPR.
- Participants need substantial saw and ax experience and to have the desire to teach. Although the course will have a field component where falling, bucking, and ax use is refined, students should be very proficient with traditional tools and tasks coming into the course. Typically students have held a B or C level certification for some time.
- Tuesday May 23 Morning: Adam and a panel of experts will start in the classroom Tuesday morning and discuss and review the 2023 Updated Policy, the newly released USFS crosscut saw and ax curriculum “Developing Thinking Sawyers”, the new National USFS Sawyer Database, Saw Vernacular, OSHA, Delegation and Designation and other necessary evils of navigating the saw policy and education within the USFS. (4 hour) This intent of this portion is to teach soon to be saw educators how to set up a classroom and other educational methodologies. This will bring us to lunch where we will transition into the field.
- Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday (all day) will be in the field with a focus on axemanship, complex and precision falling, OHLEC, complex bucking, removing hung trees as time allows (with and without rigging) and following the new educational methodology. Participants will learn and be evaluated. The hope if for the participants to leave with enough skill to become instructors and certifiers.
- Thursday and Friday, May 25-26 – A falling and B bucking course taught by course participants to new sawyers. The newly certified educators will put on a class for new sawyers. Volunteers, partners, and USFS employees will attend this course. The Train The Trainer participants will train, evaluate, and certify under the supervision of the cadre of instructors.
- Class Capacity: 10 participants
- Introduction/Refresher to Wilderness Stewardship
Lead Facilitators: Julia Cotter (Society for Wilderness Stewardship), Jack Ader (U.S. Forest Service), Josh Page (Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation)
- This session will focus on some of the basic skills and concepts needed to be a successful Wilderness Ranger in the field. It will cover an introduction to the Wilderness Act, front-country preparation and backcountry implementation of skills. Attendees will have a greater understanding of how and why we monitor solitude and campsites in Wilderness. These courses will include interactive scenarios to prepare attendees with situations that Wilderness Rangers have experienced in the field and decisions that Wilderness Managers must make in the office.
- Upon completion of this lesson, participants will:
- Learn how to prepare for a hitch as a Wilderness Ranger or Trail Crew member.
- Understand and be familiar with the Wilderness Act, wilderness character, and how to properly conduct campsite and solitude monitoring.
- Be prepared to interact with the public and answer questions in the field utilizing the Authority of the Resource and WISDOM techniques.
- Class Capacity: 35 participants
- Basic Wilderness Trail Maintenance (with optional Trail Bridge Inspection Field Certification Breakout Session on Wednesday)
Lead Facilitators: Mark Smith, Alex Totoiu
- This course will review the basics of wilderness trail maintenance and provide an excellent refresher for those with more experience. The course will be field-based and hands-on, so be prepared for field work. Please dress accordingly and be prepared for cold, wet, North Idaho spring weather! Topics covered will include safe and effective use of hand tools, maintaining those tools, basic tread maintenance, opening/clearing the trailway, and maintaining trail drainage (structures and general trail) in wilderness.
- Class will begin with an overview of general trail maintenance and tools used for maintaining wilderness trails. The class will then travel to sites along the Lochsa corridor where basic wilderness trail maintenance will be discussed, demonstrated, and practiced.
- Class Capacity: 22 participants
- Optional Trail Bridge Inspection Field Certification Breakout Session: (Wednesday)
- This course is intended for individuals who have already successfully completed the classroom portion of the Trail Bridge Inspection training and need field time to complete the certification.
- Students will review the tools and safety equipment required for trail bridge inspection, as well as the trail bridge inspection JHA, trail bridge inspection checklist, and the trail bridge inspection forms. Students will then travel to trail bridge(s) along the Lochsa corridor to complete an inspection with the instruction of a certified bridge engineer.
- Students should come prepared for field work, with necessary PPE, as well as clothing appropriate for a cold, wet, North Idaho spring. This course will be hands-on and field oriented.
- Session Capacity: 10 participants
- Crosscut Saw B Bucking, A Falling
Lead Facilitator: Adam Washebek (U.S. Forest Service)
- Prerequisite: Current First Aid/CPR.
- The A/B Crosscut Certification Course provides students with both classroom-based instruction and field experience in the use of the crosscut saws and axes. Students will learn how to safely utilize these tools in a trail maintenance capacity. The course will cover tool history, best practices in the field, one-on-one instruction in tool use in the field, tool care, safety, and transportation of the tools. Successful completion of this course is required to use these tools on national forest lands while participating in stewardship efforts.
- This is a field based course so come with appropriate outdoor gear and a sack lunch both days. If you have a favorite set of tools please bring those as well.
- Class Capacity: 40 participants
- Advanced Wilderness Stewardship
Lead Facilitators: Kearstin Edwards (U.S. Forest Service), Colter Pence (U.S. Forest Service)
- Students will start the session focusing on field leadership communication tools, including setting up leader’s intent, conducting a field briefing, and setting the stage for an informative after-action review. Instructors will demonstrate these communication tools in a variety of interactive sessions, introducing students to managerial frameworks that can be used to build or focus a program of work for any wilderness area. Students will explore the Wilderness Stewardship Performance (WSP) framework and learn how nationally identified elements are scored and used to measure baseline management standards for their respective wilderness areas. The course will take a deeper dive into wilderness values, reviewing the steps involved in completing a Wilderness Character Monitoring (WCM) baseline report. Students will be exposed to a sample of current wilderness-related research topics, followed by an introduction to the framework for evaluating wilderness research proposals. Working from a series of scenarios, students will assess the impact that different decision alternatives would have on wilderness character, using a simplified Minimum Requirements Analysis (MRA). Finally, instructors will share different avenues that wilderness rangers can use to effectively engage with fire teams, to share relevant information about their Wilderness resource.
- Upon completion of this lesson, participants will:
- Be familiar with and practice using field leadership communication tools
- Understand and be familiar with Wilderness Stewardships Performance (WSP) measures, how measures are scored, and where to find scoring information.
- Understand what is involved in conducting a Wilderness Character Monitoring (WCM) baseline report, and how the results can be used.
- Understand what a Minimum Requirements Analysis (MRA) is, why it is used, and where to find more in-depth training
- Be familiar with the Wilderness Science Evaluation framework, and wilderness-related research projects that are currently in progress
- Understand different avenues and techniques that can be used to engage line officers and Incident Commanders in wilderness fire management situations
- Class Capacity: 25 participants
- Defensive Horsemanship/Introduction to Horse Packing
Lead Instructor: Robin Connell (U.S. Forest Service) and Ian Bardwell (U.S. Forest Service)
- The Basic Horsemanship class will result in participants being certified for 8 hours of required horsemanship training. The course will review the basics of horsemanship and provide an excellent refresher for those with more experience. The course will be field-based and hands-on, so be prepared for field work. Please dress accordingly and be prepared for cold, wet, North Idaho spring weather!
- The course will include a short classroom introduction covering the course objectives of how to effectively work with and around stock in a safe manner. This indoor session will include a discussion on equine psychology and how to work safely with horses and mules. Following this short indoor orientation, the remainder of the class will be a hands-on demonstration at the Powell barn. Outdoor topics include catching, tying, grooming, saddling, bridling, mounting, riding, feeding, and camping with stock. The remainder of the class will focus on packing and handling skills.
- This two-day Basic Horsemanship and Packing course will provide a brief review of the basics of horsemanship, trailering, working with ropes, knot-tying, skills for assisting packers, packing skills pertinent to loading animals, and preparing gear to be packed in. The course will be hands-on and field oriented.
- Class Capacity: 15 participants
- Advanced Wilderness Trail Maintenance
Lead Facilitator: Doug Olive, Noel Payne
- This course will introduce students to the basics of trail and trail bridge maintenance using rigging, crosscut and axe filing and sharpening tools, and rock masonry techniques to explore rock masonry work used in trail restoration. The class is intended to provide an overview of these skills with some hands-on field time. The five to six hours of rigging class will review the basics of rigging techniques and provide an excellent starting point for those wanting to gain more experience. The course will include some field-based and hands-on experiences, so be prepared for field work. Please dress accordingly and be prepared for cold, wet, North Idaho spring weather! Topics covered will include principles of rigging and demonstrations of how to effectively use the equipment involved, basic crosscut and axe sharpening techniques and stone masonry techniques.
- Class will begin with an overview of the forces and stresses generated during rigging operations and an explanation of rigging systems most used in a Wilderness Trails project. The first day will end with an overview of crosscut and axe techniques including sharpening and the second day will be focused on an overview of the use of rock masonry with some hands-on time.
- Class Capacity: 22 participants