The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), and the U.S. Forest Service are teaming up for the sixth year in a row to hold the nationally acclaimed training program Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI). The training event will be held at the Cradle of Forestry on the Pisgah District of the Pisgah National Forest, outside of Brevard, North Carolina, from May 23 to 27 and May 30 to June 3. Those interested in attending should apply by Sunday, March 6, at: http://wildernessskillsinstitute.org/.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is pleased to continue this very effective partnership, which provides high quality training for Appalachian National Scenic Trail volunteers,” said Morgan Sommerville, regional director of the ATC. “Wilderness is the best protection we can get for the Appalachian Trail. Assuring skilled volunteers to manage the A.T. within Wilderness is critical to the success of both Trail and Wilderness.”
The training series includes basic to advanced skills needed to work in the wilderness. Courses planned for May 23 to 27 include cross-cut saw training, wilderness first aid, bridge construction using traditional tools, cross-cut saw sharpening, and wilderness education and interpretation. The second week will focus on trail maintenance techniques, wilderness recreation resource management, and field leadership training.
“The Wilderness Skills Institute is one of the best training opportunities for agency employees, partners and volunteers who work in wilderness stewardship to gain not only hard skills but also develop the relationships necessary to manage our public lands now and into the future,” said Chris Ham, Southern Region Wilderness program manager for the Forest Service.
WSI courses are delivered by instructors who are experts in their field. Course participants include new and seasoned volunteers, National Forest and Park Service personnel, and staff from ATC and SAWS. Training through the Institute is provided for free to accepted students. Free camping is available on site for those wishing to take advantage of the facilities.
“The Wilderness Skills Institute has not only grown to provide some of the best instruction in public land stewardship, but has become a cultural hub of the Wilderness and Trail community, a true gathering of passionate advocates for giving back,” said Bill Hodge, executive director of SAWS.
Wilderness Skills Institute 2016
Dates: May 23 – 27 and May 30 – June 3, 2016
Location: Cradle of Forestry in Brevard, North Carolina
Tuition: Free upon acceptance into program
Program Application: http://wildernessskillsinstitute.org/
Application Deadline: March 6, 2016
For more information about this training course, contact Leanna Joyner with the ATC at 828.254.3708 or Brenna Irrer with SAWS at 828.226.4320.