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Course Content and Outcomes:

The Chainsaw 101 course is designed for beginners to learn the safety, use, and maintenance of a chainsaw. Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to demonstrate competency in safe bucking, limbing, and precision cutting operations as well as basic saw maintenance.


The Chainsaw 201 course adds to fundamental saw skill sets, building greater technique in the areas of bucking, limbing, felling, and hazard tree removal. This course is catered to individuals looking for additional instruction in technique or those interested in felling practices. Additionally this course offers saw maintenance and field sharpening instruction. We encourage students with a background in safe chainsaw operation to register for this course.


Note: Students registering for the 201 course must demonstrate their ability to operate a chainsaw safely, as determined by the instructors, to progress through the course content. While the Chainsaw 101 course is not a requirement to participate in Chainsaw 201, we encourage even practiced sawyers to evaluate their own saw habits through  our Chainsaw 101 course. If you have any questions on which course may align with your experience and interests please do not hesitate to reach out: email us.


Both courses will offer a mix of classroom and hands-on skills training. With small instructor to student ratios our goal is to provide guidance as students gain time on the trigger, practicing the skills. Training sites will offer a mix of controlled stations and live scenarios. Students will have the opportunity to buck, limb, and take down hazards in the field. To practice felling, tree stands will be used in a controlled environment.

Safety is a primary focus of the course. Instructors will provide hands-on technical instruction in a manner that allows participants to feel comfortable and empowered.  The course curriculum will allow participants ample time to learn and practice at their own pace, while creating a collaborative learning environment conducive to meeting individual and group learning outcomes.

Physical Requirements

The course is physically demanding – applicants must be able to lift 20 lbs, bend at the waist, and be able to be on their feet for up to 8 hours.  The course takes place in variable weather conditions, mostly outside and on uneven terrain.

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Chainsaw 101 will begin the evening of Thursday, September 28 and conclude the afternoon of Sunday, October 1, 2023.


Chainsaw 201 will begin the evening of Friday, October 6 and conclude the afternoon of Monday, October 9, 2023.


Participants must be over 18 years of age, will be required to sign a release of liability waiver, and be able to meet physical requirements.


White Sulphur Springs, Montana.


On-site tent or car/truck camping are available free of charge. 


RV/camper trailers - space is limited on-site so RV’s and trailers will need to book a site at one of the two campgrounds in White Sulphur.  Fee not included in course tuition.  

Hotels - There are several local hotels that are within close proximity to the workshop site. Fee not included with course tuition.

Note: only the on-site camping options are complimentary with the cost of the course. We do have bathrooms available on site, but no public showers. Showers are available at the Spa Hotsprings Motel in White Sulphur if you pay for a soak at the hot springs ($10).


Meals and snacks will be provided. The food is ample, fresh, healthy and continually reported to be a highlight of the course. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice.

Equipment & Tools

Participants will need to provide appropriate personal clothing, safety glasses, leather work gloves, hearing protection, and leather work boots (details provided upon registration).  


The RAP Foundation will provide all other equipment, safety gear, and tools needed to participate. 

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2023 rate: $600 per person. The course fee covers instruction, materials, and course equipment. This fee includes all meals (and snacks), including dinner Thursday night through lunch on Sunday. 


Scholarships and payment plans are available! Contact us for more info.


Payment is required upon registration.

Check or Credit Cards accepted. Details provided upon registration.


The workshop is limited to 12 participants per section. Courses fill quickly. Once the course is full (first come, first served) we will add names to a waitlist.

Registration for 2023 courses opened on 

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. MT





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Course Fees, minus a $50 cancellation fee, will be refunded if cancellation is made prior to 30 days before the start of the workshop. Fees are nonrefundable if cancellation is made within 30 days of the start of the workshop. In the event that the Timber Skills course is canceled due to public health concerns, full refunds will be issued for the course tuition.

For questions or additional information, please feel free to reach out: email us.

Chainsaw 101 Instructors

Bethany Hannah

Bethany cut down her first tree with a crosscut at age 15 in the backcountry of Alaska (while on a Student Conservation Association trail crew) and has been in love with saws (and trees!) ever since.  She picked up a chainsaw for the first time more than 20 years ago while working as a Hotshot wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, and eventually became one of the only female sawyers on a hotshot crew in the country. Bethany has been instructing Timber Skills for the Red Ants Pants Foundation since the very beginning and absolutely loves teaching and empowering women to learn new traditional (and non-traditional) skills.  She recently left a position running an urban lumber mill for a non-profit in Sacramento, California. She absolutely cherishes her time teaching in Montana each fall!

Cole Sommers

Nicole ‘Cole’ is from Minnesota and moved out to Montana in 2016 after graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors in Architecture. The last few years Cole has worked with Montana Conservation Corps out of the Helena office as a Crew Member and a Crew Leader (half of her leader season was leading the MCC all Women’s Chainsaw/Fire Crew), worked as a Construction Crew Leader for Habitat for Humanity, and led camping and canoe trips with Wilderness Inquiry throughout the country for people of all backgrounds and abilities. Recently, Cole decided to be back with MCC as their Field Coordinator to fulfill her love of working, exploring, and living outdoors. Cole has been on multiple saw crews throughout her years in Montana and is looking forward to sharing her passion and knowledge of chainsaws with many women who look forward to learning something new.

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