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Newsletter – Spring 2003

President’s Message
Chainsaw Training

With a crash that literally shook the ground, ninety feet of eucalyptus tree met its end in the parking lot at Palm Beach. For the next three hours, ten of my “classmates” and I dissected it (and a few of its friends) as we learned safe and effective use of chainsaws.

A week before, Margaret Hicks had forwarded me a memo from Kirk Lingenfelter of State Parks that there would be a basic chainsaw certification class held on March 20. We found that there was one last slot available, and on that Thursday morning, I was the one (and only) attendee that was a “volunteer” at the Sunset Beach maintenance shop. The rest of the class included maintenance people and rangers.

The cast of instructors was reminiscent of the Advocates workdays – Larry, Patrick, Barbie, Chris, and a lot of other familiar faces.

As you might expect, the three main points emphasized were safety, safety, and safety. With a chain moving at about 50 MPH, it only takes a second for every tooth on that chain to pass by an errant hand, leg, or foot ten times. Proper planning, technique, and safety equipment are the difference between a job completed successfully and a potential disaster.

One of the biggest issues for working with the Advocates is determining whether a given situation is one that is appropriate for volunteers to do, as opposed to calling in a full state crew with hoists, lines, and a lot more experience. The first work day, post-graduation, presented us with one of those situations that we determined just wasn’t right. (Sigh.) No chance to be a hero today.

Many thanks from me personally and from the Advocates to Kirk and the rest of the Parks people for letting me attend this class. Not only was it informative but it was good clean fun, and I hope that we’ll be able to put it to good use!

—Chris Foster