If you have any interest in using a chainsaw to maintain your property, you’ve probably heard of Game of Logging. This should be the first thing you should do when you’re considering being a forest owner,” said Dan Carusone, a program coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Warren County. “There’s a great deal of trail maintenance, thinning, etc., where a chainsaw comes in handy. Chainsaws are one of the most dangerous tools to run improperly. But when you know how to use it properly, it becomes one of the most efficient tools that you could ever own. Game of Logging is the most comprehensive workshop on chainsaw safety there is. It starts with the basic anatomy of a chainsaw, how to maintain it, sharpen the chain, and then starts in with the field work of how to cut logs on the ground and how to drop trees. Each participant in the course has to do all of that, including dropping two trees. That last part makes hosting the course difficult, as we have to find community members where having 20 trees dropped at one time on their property isn’t a big deal.
In co-operation with Bill Lindloff’s ProCuts, one of only seven authorized instruction organizations in the country, CCE of Warren County tries to offer the course several times a year. “Normally participants pay $150 per course, but we’ve subsidized it for the past two years through a grant from International Paper,” says Carusone. “All you pay is $45, and you get the best chainsaw course there is. I would say for a forest owner – there’s a great deal of trail maintenance, thinning, etc. This should be the first thing you should do when you’re considering being a forest owner. Participants are required to bring their own gear to classes. “You do need to bring your own chainsaw,” said Carusone. “One with a 16” bar is recommended. It’s the happy medium between weight and capability. You also need all of your own safety equipment. Work boots, long pants, chaps (preferably the kind that bind the chain when they’re cut into), hard hat, goggles, ear protection, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt regardless of the weather. It would be more than once that my sleeves have done the job of stopping an errant chain. And don’t forget a lunch! They only take a half hour lunch break before getting right back to it.”
Currently, CCE has three classes coming up on September 9th (storm damage), 10th (Game of Logging Level 1), and the 11th, though the first two days of classes are already full. The class on the 11th is Game of Logging Level 2, which requires Game of Logging Level 1 before you can take it. According to the Game of Logging website, level 2 “focuses on maximizing chainsaw performance through basic maintenance, carburetor setting, and filing techniques. Limbing and bucking techniques are introduced, spring pole cutting is covered and more felling is practiced.“ The class on the 9th is a storm damage training class, where you’re working on clearing trails and learning the particular dangers and the way trees might fall in the aftermath of a storm. CCE of Warren County is hoping to host another set of classes in late October, provided Lindloff has an open date. “If not in October, we will have another round of courses in the spring,” said Carusone.
For those that are hoping to find a class sooner (albeit one that isn’t subsidized), they can contact Lindloff directly at email@example.com, or by phone at (607) 786-5462.