The Power of Partnership and the Wilderness Skills Institute

Two of the most empowering weeks on our calendar just came and went; the partnership known as the Wilderness Skills Institute. This annual training has grown into a model of traditional-tool skill building, wilderness stewardship concepts and engaging a new public in caring for our nation’s wild places.   The Institute is also a model […]

Linville Gorge and its Wilderness Significance

Is there a more spectacular destination in Southern Appalachia than the Linville Gorge? Sure, I bet you can think of many others, and it is hard to pick just one – but I bet we can all agree that the Gorge would make most Top 5 lists. Have the stunning and soaring views from the […]

Comfort Zone

By Andi Kur 2015 Field Crew Member, Southern Regional Crew It has been a little over four months since I last hiked out of the Citico Creek Wilderness with my crew for the final time, and I miss them and my time spent in the Southern Appalachians dearly. In retrospect, my summer spent with SAWS […]

A Pause In The Conversation

A little over five years ago I met one of the most influential people that the SAWS family would ever know. I didn’t realize it at the time, and my guess is he will try and deny it now – but without Jimmy Gaudry, SAWS would not be where it is today, and we would […]

Advanced Trail Construction Courses Offered

The Tellico Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest in conjunction with Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is offering two Advanced Trail Construction Courses to build skills within agency and partner staff and within the volunteer community.The Advanced Trail Construction Skills Training is being offered this fall (September 28th through October 16th). This training is provided […]

The Crew

 A blog by Anna Tawril, a member of our Southern Crew this summer: I’ve always believed that simply being in wilderness is inspiring, good for the soul. More time spent outside means more opportunities for self-improvement and more character built. However, after a summer with Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, it has become clear to me that […]

In the end – Love!

By Bill Hodge, Executive Director The season always begins with excitement for some, trepidation for others, and the giddiness of meeting new people. The convergence of experience and opportunity, pushing personal boundaries and new landscapes pulls the team together that would otherwise never meet. They come from school, from the trail and some from their […]

A Scream From Above!

  Bill Hodge, Executive Director Dinner was cooking in our pot, and we were in heaven. Our camp was in the Olympic Wilderness, near Hole-In-The-Wall Rock along Rialto Beach. The pounding surf, the stunning views and the ‘pick-up truck sized’ driftwood had already made the day magical. Then came the scream from above. For a […]

Hanging Out

As I laid in my hammock, literally on the edge of the Linville Gorge, my attempts to sleep alluding me, I found myself captivated by the low rumble and eventual high-pitch whistle of a train passing, somewhere down ‘off the mountain’. It was odd to me, that here in this Wilderness, being aware of those […]


By Bill Hodge, Executive Director On Wednesday, the Wilderness Skills Institute planning team gathered at the Cradle of Forestry. With a fresh feel of spring in the air, it was hard to not imagine the crew that will gather for this year’s event out in the field, laughing around a campfire, sharing passions for the land. […]