Gorge Trails Recovery Team & US Forest Service working on clearing some large diameter logs from Gorton Creek Trail March 2018, and grateful for the spring like weather. Because this trail is located in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness they use traditional hand tools, rigging and crosscut saws.
In order to protect the wilderness character of our special places, the Wilderness Act (1964) limits the types of activities that are permitted within designated Wilderness areas. With few exceptions, mechanical transport and motorized equipment are two categories of use that were deemed contrary to the nature of Wilderness when the Act was written.
Such restrictions create unique challenges for managers and volunteers charged with maintaining Wilderness trails, who must rely on primitive skills in order to accomplish their goals. All heavy equipment must be hauled in by hand or packed in using stock, all log bridges must be set in place with sheer strength or man-powered rigging, and all log cutting must be performed without the aid of power saws, typically using a crosscut saw.
The passage of the Wilderness Act has helped restore the dying art of primitive tool use by effectively requiring their use in wilderness trail maintenance.