Sawyer (Cutting Out) Volunteer Projects

Project(s) Registration CLOSED

Registration CLOSED

minimum/maximum = 3/6
to confirm minimum project offering, refer to registration closure dates 

Project #1 – June 14-18, 2020 (registration closes May 24)
Project #2 – July 5-9, 2020 (registration closes June 14)
Project #3 – July 12-16, 2020 (registration closes June 21)

Project Description:  Working closely with the ranger district and their specific trail cut out needs, each project week will lead our crew to a different location for sawyer practice and work.  The project location will be decided approximately one week prior to the project start, but our task is generally single purposed – cut out downed trees that reduces trail access for the trail users.

The plan is to camp at trailheads, or close thereby.  That being the plan, registrants would be best prepared to carry a backpack in case the camp is a couple of miles from the trailhead.  Expect daily hiking mileage to increase as the week progresses and we move further from the camp with sawyer progress.

No prior trail experience is required but a good attitude is helpful.
Everyone has a job on our projects.

What is a Volunteer Trail Work Project:  These five-day/four-night projects are focused on specific trail maintenance needs in the Rio Grande National Forest. Designed as fun work in the backcountry, our focus is safety and enjoyment, followed by completion of the project goals. We recognize that the public land system is used by hikers like us. These projects are a way to give back to all of the boot prints we have put on the trail tread.

Projects like these offer a day-to-day reward of accomplishment. You will be amazed at what you and your co-crew can achieve with single man and two-man saws and an ax. As a crew, we will complete important trail work. You will meet new friends, share meals and chores. We want you to enjoy the experience, and come back.

This project is open to volunteers who meet the following criteria:

  • Have a great attitude and desire to work with other volunteers to accomplish a project goal.
  • Ability to adhere to the following basic rules: Be Safe. Have Fun. Get Some Work Done.
  • Physical stamina to hike to and from camp, hike and work at a moderate pace throughout the day.
  • Have the appropriate gear and equipment for the week; all food and tools will be provided for you.
  • Ability to participate for the full length of the trip; no late arrivals or early departures.
  • Willingness to learn – no prior trail work experience is necessary.
  • Must be 16 years old with parent or guardian.

Cost:  $140 per person.  Discount if register for more than one sawyer project.

Includes:  All in the field meals, snacks and necessary tools.  Group gear and equipment will additionally be provided.  We have limited personal gear and equipment available.  Any requests are available by first request/first reserve and should be made no less than 14 days prior to project start.

Our Work Week: Subject to change.

  • Pre-Arrival – Saturday
    You are encouraged to arrive on Saturday afternoon to the agreed trailhead.  A carpool option from Pagosa Springs will be available in the afternoon, time to be determined.
  • Day 1 – Sunday
    We will meet at the trailhead at 8a for breakfast and pre-project notes before setting up camp and reviewing the principles of Leave No Trace.
  • Day 2 and 3 – Monday and Tuesday
    Sawyer trail work.
  • Day 4 – Wednesday
    Day off! This is your day to relax or explore the local trails, peaks and views of the wilderness.
  • Day 5 – Thursday
    Sawyer trail work until lunch then break down camp. We expect to finish at the trailhead at 3p.

Our Work Day: Subject to change.

  • 6:30 – Morning wake-up call.
  • 7:00 – Coffee and breakfast served. Please be on time! Make your lunch.
  • 7:30 – Cleanup crew washes dishes, puts food away, etc.
  • 8:00 – Leave for project site.
  • 8:30 – 9:00 – Begin work at the project site; taking periodic breaks.
  • Noon – Lunch break. At least 30 minutes, probably an hour.
  • After lunch to 3:30-ish – Continue trail work; taking periodic breaks. Don’t overwork!
  • 3:30 – Leave for camp.
  • 4:00 – This time is your free time to enjoy the landscape, read a book, write in your journal or take a nap.
  • 6:00 – Dinner served. Please be on time! Enjoy a big plate of delicious, nutritious, filling hot food.
  • After Dinner – Cleanup crew washes dishes, puts food away, etc.; everyone else on own.

All About Food: Nutritious! Filling! Yummy!  A menu will be provided approximately two weeks prior to the project. Our menu is designed to ensure nutrition, is not carbohydrate heavy but instead blends all nutritional needs including: fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins as well as carbohydrates.  These projects are at high elevation (anywhere from 8,500 to 10,000-feet).  Expect dinners to be a soup base. We have found that hearty, filling soups assist with ensuring you feel better, sleep better and maintain hydration. You won’t be hungry and we apologize now if you return to the trailhead a couple pounds heavier than when you began.  Allergy and dietary restrictions can be accommodated if we are advised in advance – like, when you register!

About Our Landscape – Rio Grande National Forest: The 1.83 million acre Rio Grande National Forest is located in southcentral Colorado. The Rio Grande begins its 1800-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico high up in the San Juan Mountains in the western most part of the forest. The Continental Divide runs for 236-miles along most of the western border of the forest and the jagged tops of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains form the eastern border. In between these two mountain ranges sits the San Luis Valley, a large agricultural alpine valley. The Rio Grande National Forest is composed of a myriad of ecosystems ranging from high elevation desert at 7,600-feet above sea level to rocky crags at over 14,300-feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Portions of four wilderness areas make up almost a fourth of the forest.  

About Registration:  Although you are a project volunteer, there are costs associated with this offering. Your registration fee assists with paying for permit fees, food, necessary tools and outfitter transport of group gear and personal gear.

We understand emergencies but ask that you reserve your space only if you are going to attend. There is no refund for cancellation in this project. It is very difficult to fill recently vacated spaces, particularly within three weeks of the project start date when most cancellations tend to occur.

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