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 […]


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. […]

Under Construction

By Bill Hodge, (soon to be) Executive Director The sounds of hammers and drills have filled the air here at the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) Basecamp for the past few weeks. Walls are going up to create gear rooms and workshops to create an efficient workspace for the future of the SAWS team. The […]

Engaging a New Generation of Stewards

By Nathan Mynatt, Wilderness Ranger As the leaves fall from the trees signaling the season’s draw to a close, I have the chance to look back and evaluate the time I have spent as a SAWS Wilderness Ranger.  Recently, I had the great opportunity of going to Albuquerque for the National Wilderness Conference, a celebration of […]

Homemade Wilderness Brew

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, I decided to make a beer with as many ingredients as possible gathered from Wilderness in Virginia.  My first idea was to make a blueberry mint saison, but ended up making a blueberry sour beer.  In this entry, I’ll share photos, procedures and the recipe of […]

Farewell Chlorophyll

By Charlie Smillie, Wilderness Ranger In my time as a Wilderness Ranger, the forests and trails have been companion and muse: Farewell Chlorophyll. Farewell to the long evening dusk. Mornings of warm air, muggy afternoon thunderstorms no more. The swimming hole, the basking in the sun but a fond remembrance. Until sweet blooms, cut grass […]

Lost and Found in the Wilderness

By Lida Wise, Wilderness Conservation Corps Crew Leader I am clambering hands and knees through an endless tunnel of rhododendron, finally emerging only to be greeted with waves and waves of weedy doghobble. I tromp on heedlessly, soaked and scratched to bits.  When I get back down to the river that I’ve been picking my […]

Working Smarter

by Eric Giebelstein, Wilderness Ranger I was recently tasked with finding an elusive abandoned campsite in the Saint Mary’s Wilderness. It has existed for nearly a decade and although many groups had volunteered to remove it, none had succeeded. I was armed with the latitude and longitude of the camp and a general description with […]

The Waterfall

By David Cohen, Wilderness Ranger It is beneficial for a Wilderness Ranger to occasionally travel beyond where the trail ends. In my experience, much of what an area has to offer cannot be seen from the usual paths, and a Ranger should know the Wilderness better than most. An appropriate time to go exploring is […]

Reflections of Wilderness

  By Emily Patton, Crew Member Citico Creek, Shining Rock, Iron Mountain, Joyce Kilmer, and the Black Mountains. All of which have provided some of the most challenging and equally rewarding experiences in my life. Being a girly girl who enjoys good personal hygiene and the comfort of indoor “necessities,” I am always so surprised […]