In early December, 15 members of MST trail crews across the state converged on Raleigh for a class to be certified to safely operate a chainsaw while working on the MST. Many students were long-time sawyers due for their three-year certification, and several were new, getting their certification for the first time. The course was taught by Dennis Helton, a retired US Forest Service chainsaw instructor who is considered one of the best trainers in the business. The class includes a classroom portion on Friday followed by a day in the field when students test their skills on trees that land managing agencies have identified for removal. Friends of the MST organizes this class once per year with funding from the federal Recreational Trails Program which is administered by the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. Volunteers with Friends’ trail crews interested in learning to be a sawyer may ask their Task Force Leader to nominate them for the free class.