Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Game of Logging

Six HCC forestry students and three faculty recently completed Level I and Level II of "The Game of Logging"--the premier timber harvesting training program in the country that combines hands-on demonstrations of tree felling techniques and safety practices in a competitive environment. Master logger and Game of Logging Instructor Dave Sienko from Hallstead, Pennsylvania conducted the training at a local logging site in Haywood County. Students and faculty members scored (and lost!) points based on their cutting and felling proficiency and safety practices. Level I training focused on the art and physics behind open face felling and the techniques and steps to ensure proper chainsaw and felling safety. Topics included personal protective equipment, chainsaw safety features, chainsaw reactive forces, bore cutting, pre-planning the fell, and understanding hinge wood strength--(ie. how to cut down a tree safely and efficiently!). Level II focused on maximizing chainsaw performance through basic maintenance, understanding the cutting elements and capacity of the chain, and filing techniques. Three types of limbing and bucking cuts were also introduced, and more felling was practiced by each participant.

At the end of the two days of training, forestry student (and chainsaw novice!) Andy Tait beat out his more experienced chainsaw comrades by finishing with the most points in Level I, while forestry technician and instructor Bob Pinkston finished first in Level II after smashing his target stake with a perfect "on-the-money" fell! The event was organized by Natural Resources Division Chair, Doug Staiger, and the Southern Forestry Foundation.

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