On the Ground: Chainsaw Safety Course

For the fourth year, MUCC is hosting a Chainsaw Safety Training course provided to members, volunteers with OTG, and the general public. In previous years, Chuck Oslund of Bay College has taught his safety system to groups of 15-35 participants with us. This year, I’ve brought in Bill Dawson, Denise Dawson, and Bill Rushford from the Heavy Equipment Response Coalition to host the training. Elements from Chuck’s safety system will be passed on through this course as well as guidelines from the USFS saw operator program. Read more to see all of the course details and be sure to register if you plan to attend!

On Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th, 2018MUCC’s On the Ground program and the Heavy Equipment Response Coalition are offering a Chainsaw Safety Training course for all experience levels from no sawyer experience to advanced. There is no fee to attend this course, but any donations to the Coalition would be very much appreciated as they are investing a lot of quality time and providing great instructors for this course. The course will be hosted at the Hal & Jean Glassen building at the Rose Lake Shooting Range and will begin at 9 AM on both Saturday and Sunday. Sessions are expected to go until 4 PM on both days. Topics covered will include basic saw safety, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), saw anatomy, starting procedure,  job hazard analysis, problem-solving, etc. There will be a field session on each day to practice cutting techniques from bucking to technical felling cuts; groups will be split up based on experience levels.

  • All participants will receive a general completion certificate from instructor Aaron Smith with Bryan Equipment Sales, Inc. and there will be an opportunity for up to 8 people to be evaluated by Scott Peterson with SOS Tree Service for a higher level of certification.  Scott is nationally certified by the U.S. Forest Service with the highest certification–a Level “C” Trainer. Keep in mind, this level of certification is beneficial for only those who plan to operate on Federal/National Forest lands and is not necessary for most operators.
  • You may bring your own chainsaw, adequate PPE (kevlar chaps, leather boots, gloves, eye and ear protection, hard-hat or sawyer helmet with face-shield), and any maintenance items to the course; this is encouraged but not required. Fuel, oil, extra chainsaws, chain files, maintenance tools and PPE will be available for participants.
  • Lunch and water will be provided for participants.
  • *Registration is Required-click here to register* You will receive event updates and further details as the course date gets closer. Feel free to contact Sarah Topp at stopp@mucc.org with any questions.

Looking to volunteer at a wildlife habitat improvement event with On the Ground? Check out the updated project list here!

MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division


  1. Mark Griffin on February 3, 2018 at 12:06 am

    This sounds like a great opportunity!
    Are there classes like this often, or other locations? I ask because this is a 2 hour drive and the date causes me some difficulties.

    Thanks for offering this and your time!

    Mark Griffin

    • stopp on February 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Mark, MUCC hosts a course annually. There may be other trainings hosted by the DNR in various locations as well. There will be plans to host this course again in the future!

  2. Don Reef on February 6, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Is this a two day course or two one day courses?

    • stopp on February 7, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Hi Don, this is a two-day course but you are not required to attend both days unless you want to try for a federal level certification. The first day will be half lecture/half field technique, the second day will be all focused on field techniques.

  3. Bill Theibert on March 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Really enjoyed the class. Signed my wife up who has never ran a saw before and I was joining here. I’ve been running a saw since I was 10 years old and I obtained a lot of new information. I also learned what I was doing wrong. Sarah, Bill and Scott did a great job, I’m glad we attended this course.

  4. Brenda on July 18, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Any more classes this year?

  5. Roger Davidson on February 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    need to know when the next opening classes are

  6. Jessie Schulte on February 5, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Do you know how to contact a sawyer instructor ASAP? We can pay very well if you are interested or available to cover for us in leading a 1 or 1.5 day chainsaw course Wednesday Feb 9th and half day Feb 10th (outdoor portion). We had planned a class from Dustin Brighton (Bay City free OSHA class) but he rescheduled once and now he has covid 19. We have 28 attendees eager to learn about the safety system and truly hoping you could step in. Jen Howell said you did a fantastic job at Calvin’s Bunker. We’d love to share your experience and safety tips with our parks and outdoor volunteers.

    Thank you,

    Jessie Schulte
    District Manager
    3260 Eagle Park Dr NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49525
    Cell: (248) 245-3977

    • Shaun Mckeon on February 8, 2022 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Jessie,

      Unfortunately, the sawyers we used to run our previous courses are no longer available and have moved out of state. We are unable to help cover your class tomorrow.

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