Fifth Annual Wilderness Skills Institute Announced for May 2015 Near Brevard, North Carolina

Date Published: Feb 03, 2015

Wilderness Skills InstituteBrevard, NC (Feb. 3, 2015) – Registration is now open for the fifth Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI), a training program for Wilderness stewardship and management that is presented by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), and the United States Forest Service. The training event, planned for May 18 to 22 and May 26 to 29, will be held at the Cradle of Forestry on the Pisgah District of the Pisgah National Forest, outside of Brevard, North Carolina.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is pleased to continue this very effective partnership which provides high quality training for Appalachian National Scenic Trail volunteers,” said Morgan Sommerville, ATC’s regional director. “Wilderness is the best protection we can get for the Appalachian Trail. Assuring skilled volunteers to manage the Appalachian Trail within Wilderness is critical to the success of both the Trail and Wilderness.”

The special skillset needed to work in Wilderness is addressed on all levels as part of the Institute training series, tackling subjects intended for beginners as well as individuals with advanced experience. Program offerings for 2015 include crosscut saw certification, Wilderness history and stewardship, trail maintenance, visitor use management, and advanced trail structures with an emphasis on stonework.

“The Wilderness Skills Institute is a great opportunity for training all who work in wilderness management. This includes agency employees, partners and volunteers,” said Jimmy Gaudry, Southern Region Wilderness Program Manager for the Forest Service.

Training through the Institute is provided for free to accepted students, and free camping is available on site for those wishing to take advantage of the facilities. The Institute is an excellent opportunity for connecting with Wilderness stewards across the region, both inside and outside of the classroom.

“The Wilderness Skills Institute is a great example of how powerful partnerships can create dynamic results,” said Bill Hodge, executive director of SAWS. “The suite of trainings available is a reflection of the commitment each of our organizations have to providing a positive path toward stewardship of our public lands and the connections we all feel in giving back.”

The training program, unlike any available in the eastern United States, is garnering national attention as a model for stewardship of public lands in a collaborative environment.

Event Overview:
Wilderness Skills Institute 2015
Dates: May 18 – 22 and May 26 – 29, 2015
Location:  Cradle of Forestry in Brevard, North Carolina
Tuition: Free upon acceptance into program
Program Application:
Application Deadline: April 18, 2015

For more information about this training course, contact Leanna Joyner with the ATC at 828.254.3708 or Brenna Irrer with SAWS at 828.226.4320. 

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit

Contact: Javier Folgar                                                                    
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0481
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: [email protected]

About the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards
Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards is dedicated to engaging, educating and empowering a new public in the stewardship of protected public lands. For more information, please visit

Contact: Brenna Irrer
Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards
Tel: 828.226.4320 
Email: [email protected]

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