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Traditional Tools and Skills Toolbox

Information provided in this toolbox is intended to support the use of Traditional Tools and Skills for administrative activities in wilderness. A process for determining the minimum requirement and minimum tool is described and information and training resources are provided. The toolbox features sections on common traditional tools (i.e. saws, axes, rigging, grip hoists, rock tools, etc.), travel methods (i.e. livestock, watercraft, sled dogs, etc.), and project examples (i.e. trails, weeds, etc.). In addition to the resources provided here, you may also be able to obtain advice and recommendations through discussion on Wilderness Connect. Date of last update: 12/1/14.
  1. Introduction
    1. Overview
      The use of traditional tools and skills (TTS) for necessary administrative activities in wilderness is a basic principle of wilderness stewardship. The basis for this principle is found in the Wilderness Act itself and implemented through agency regulations and policy. The use of TTS or non-motorized tools and methods is directly related to both the purpose and the definition of wilderness as described in the Wilderness Act and agency policy.

      Information provided in this toolbox is intended to support the use of TTS for administrative activities in wilderness. The use of TTS is mandated by both the Wilderness Act and agency policy and exceptions are made only when the use of motorized equipment or other prohibited uses are screened through narrow criteria. Comfort, convenience, economic efficiency, and commercial value are not standards of management in wilderness or criteria that are used to screen proposals to use something other than TTS. Assumptions about the use of TTS are often not true and can be overcome. Additional information and a process for making decisions related to use of TTS skills is contained in the Minimum Requirements Decision Guide.
    2. Management Benefits
      The use of TTS to accomplish work in wilderness not only helps ensure that the ’minimum tool’ is used but also provides benefits for wilderness managers and crews. Because the use of TTS may require more human powered effort, it prompts a better consideration of whether the activity really needs to occur in wilderness and then, if it does, what the minimum required activity should be. And, once a project and tool are determined, the use of TTS creates an environment that demands greater problem solving skills and often better planning and collaboration before the project begins. The use of TTS also preserves these skills among wilderness managers, crews, contractors, and volunteers.
    3. Public Benefits
      The use of TTS provides a public benefit from wilderness. When the public observes the use of TTS in wilderness or at demonstrations outside wilderness the reaction is often one of awe and pride. If TTS were not used in wilderness perhaps these skills would be lost and future generations would not be able to observe how work is done without motors and marvel in the skill and dedication of those who work in wilderness.
    4. The Wilderness Act of 1964
    5. Forest Service Wilderness Management Policy
  2. Determining the Minimum Requirement and Minimum Tool
    1. Minimum Requirements Decision Guide
    2. Minimum Requirements
    3. Mechanization in Wilderness
    4. Use of Native Materials
      1. Law and FS Policy
      2. Native Material Use in Wilderness (1.1 MB)
  3. Training and Information Contacts
    1. FS Regional Trainers and Information Contacts
    2. Ninemile Wildlands Training Center
    3. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    4. Student Conservation Association Traditional Skills Training
    5. Lightly on the Land-SCA Trails Manual
    6. Volunteer and Partner Training sources
    7. FS Regional Blasters Contact List
    8. BWCAW Trail and Campsite Maintenance Guide
  4. Images
    1. For Traditional Tool and Skills Images visit the Image library and enter the keyword 'Traditional Tools and Skills'.
  5. Crosscut Saws
    1. Forest Service Technology and Development Resources for Crosscut Saw Sawyers
    2. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    3. Sources for Crosscut Saws
    4. Sources for Crosscut Saw Handle Parts
    5. Sources for Crosscut Saw Aluminum Wedges
    6. Saw Sheaths
    7. Sharpening Services
    8. "How I Sharpen a Crosscut Saw" YouTube Video
    9. Filing Techniques Online Forum
    10. Carrying a Saw
    11. Use and Care
    12. Lubrication
    13. Crosscut Saw Bulletin
      The Cross-cut Saw Bulletin is produced and distributed by:
      Region 5 Crosscut Saw Coordinator
      Trails & OHV Program Manager
      Tahoe National Forest
      631 Coyote Street
      Nevada City, CA 95959

      Direct/Voice Mail: (530) 478-6183
      Office: (530) 265-4531
      Fax: (530) 478-6109
      Contact David directly for current or past issues.
      1. Crosscut Saw Bulletin Vol.5, No.1
    14. Crosscut Saw News and Information
    15. Job Hazard Analysis
    16. Case Study Examples
      1. BWCAW Overview
        1. BWCAW Minimum Tool Analysis
        2. BWCAW Chainsaw Policy
        3. BWCAW Rehab Plan
      2. Juniper Overview
        1. Juniper Action Plan
        2. Juniper Article #1
        3. Juniper Article #2
  6. Axes
    1. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    2. Sources for Axes
    3. Sources for Axe Handles
    4. Job Hazard Analysis
  7. Other Traditional Handtools
    1. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    2. Yesteryear Tools
      An Internet Magazine that concentrates on hand tools, the toolmakers and the tool distributors that operated mostly between the mid-1800s and mid to late-1900s.
  8. Bridges and Foot Logs
    1. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    2. Trail Bridge Catalog
    3. Packable Bridges
      1. Case Study in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness
      2. Sources for Packable Bridges
  9. Rigging and Rockwork
    1. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    2. National Dry Stone Masonry Conservancy Center
    3. Case Study in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness
      1. Power Point of Case Study (47.0 MB)
    4. Sources for Rigging Equipment
    5. Rock Tools
      1. Rock Tool Sources
    6. Grip Hoist
      1. Grip Hoist Manual
      2. "How I Maintain a TU-17 Griphoist for Trailwork" YouTube Video
      3. Job Hazard Analysis
    7. Army Rigging Manual
    8. Job Hazard Analysis
  10. Explosives and Hand Drilling
    1. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    2. Magnum Buster Non-explosive Rock Splitter
    3. FS Regional Blasters List
    4. Rogue-Umpqua Divide Stump Blasting Examples (1.9 MB)
    5. Job Hazard Analysis
  11. Travel and Transportation
    1. Missoula Technology Development Center Publications
    2. Case Studies
      1. Turnpike Replacement-Gifford Pinchot NF
      2. Packing Human Waste-Inyo NF
      3. Mule String-Hoosier NF
    3. Canoes and Sea Kayaks
      1. Sea Kayak Task Book-Chugach NF
      2. Job Hazard Analysis
    4. Dog Sled
      1. Dog Sled Case Study-BWCAW
      2. Dog Sled Accomplishments-BWCAW
      3. Job Hazard Analysis
    5. Foot Travel
      1. Job Hazard Analyses
        1. Backcountry Travel Footwear Specific
        2. Backcountry Travel
        3. Front and Backcountry Travel, Flash Floods
        4. Front and Backcountry Travel
        5. Hiking in Steep and Rough Terrain
        6. Hiking on Uneven Surfaces
        7. Ski and Snowshoe Activities
    6. Stock
      1. Livestock Management Plan - Stanislaus NF
      2. Stock Management Plan - Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF
      3. Stock Mgmt Plan - Salmon Challis NF
      4. Stock Use Training - Salmon Challis NF
      5. Job Hazard Analyses
        1. Care and Transportation of Animals
        2. Feeding and Care of Animals
        3. Horse Use-Riding
        4. Packing Stock
  12. Trails
    1. Trail Maintenance
      1. Pacific Crest Trail Association Trail Skills Training
    2. Trail Reconstruction
      1. Hoover Wilderness, Peeler Lake Trail Repair
      2. Shawnee NF-Lusk Creek Wilderness
        1. Accomplishment Report
        2. Summary Presentation (1.1 MB)
    3. Job Hazard Analyses
      1. Cyclic Maintenance of Trails
      2. General Trail Maintenance
      3. Trail Puncheon
      4. Trail Reconstruction (Rock Mountain National Park)
      5. Trail Reconstruction (Sawtooth National Recreation Area)
  13. Weed Treatment (Non-native Invasive Plants Toolbox)
    1. Saddle Light Sprayer User's Guide
      1. Saddle Light Sprayer Contact Information
  14. Miscellaneous Case Studies
    1. Selway-Bitterroot Dam Project
    2. Fence Removal - Steens Mountain Wilderness
    3. Traditional Skills Development Team Partnership
      1. SCA MOU
      2. MTDC Proposal
      3. Briefing Paper
      4. Information Request Form