SAWS is a project of The Wilderness Society, dedicated to providing stewardship to areas designated and managed as Wilderness in the National Forests of eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, northern Georgia and northwestern South Carolina. SAWS serves as a resource for the federal agencies, supplementing existing efforts and providing stewardship where there is need.
Since launching this program in 2010, our efforts have included providing on-going restoration efforts to the human impact areas of our designated Wilderness (trails and campsites), developed a partnership training program for volunteer, seasonal staff, and professional staff, and created a Wilderness Ranger program to measure the impacts and effects on wilderness character several areas of concern and to assist the recreating public. Our program focuses on engaging local communities across our landscape in active volunteerism and developing the next generation of public lands stewards.
By definition, “Wilderness Stewardship” has a broad scope, but SAWS area of focus is the following programs:
- Trail restoration through year-round volunteer opportunities
- Summer crew and internship programs
- Training through the highly successful Wilderness Skills Institute, a partnership event with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the US Forest Service
- Wilderness Ranger Programs
- Alternative Break Programs
- Educational opportunities through presentations and workshops