Introduction to Mechanized Trail Building - Stonewall, November 16-18

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Introduction to Mechanized Trail Building - Stonewall, November 16-18


Instructor: John Gibson, Charlie Dundas, and others
Date: Wednesday - Friday, November 16-18, 2016
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily (ends at 1pm on Friday)
Room: Pecan Room, Stonewall Resort Conference Center

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Introduction to Mechanized Trail Building

One skilled machine operator and the right machine can do the work of many hand laborers in a fraction of the time. In a dollars and cents world, machines save you time and money on any given trail project. 

An un-trained machine operator can do a lot of damage in no time and this often requires significant time to "clean up the mess". These situations have given machine built trail a bad image and left trail users and land managers wondering if there is a "better way".

The "better way" is using machines for the project but making sure the operators are well trained and skilled and have a light touch. This 3 day workshop will focus on giving participants a good head start and introduction into the world of mechanized trail building. Join us for this hot topic workshop and learn how to use machines, but yield a high level of finish and an "always been there" look.

Instructors are some of the best in the business with not only good machine skills, but also good teaching and instructional skills. Teacher to student ratios will be kept low and there will be plenty of hands on machine time to hone your skills on a range of different machines. 

Topics to be covered include:

  • Care and feeding of trail machines
  • Trailer loading and securing the load
  • Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and general machine safety
  • Different types of machines and applications (dirt pushers vs. diggers)
  • Multiple attachments on versatile machines
  • Rough grading and grubbing vs. finished grading
  • Trail maintenance with machines
  • Road to trail conversions- making old road more effective recreational corridors
  • New trail construction
  • Extraction of a machine when you get in trouble
  • Finish work behind the machines

This is a working and very hands on workshop, please come prepared for such. Being prepared includes having the following:  good work clothing including rain gear, good boots, gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, and a hard hat. Lunch is provided each day but you will need to bring a pack for water, snacks and extra clothing. 

After a half day in a flat sand lot area, we will set up different stations with various machines. Machines that we will train on include: 

  • Mini excavators 
  • Sutter trail dozer  

Cost: $375 early registration

Capacity: We need 6 minimum to host this workshop and we can accommodate a total of 12 students. 


Our group will meet at 8:00 am on the first day of the workshop at the Stonewall Resort (940 Resort Drive Roanoke, WV 2644 USA) in the Pecan Room.


Stonewall Resort (940 Resort Drive Roanoke, WV 2644 USA) 


Rental Cars

  • Avis - 304.842.3938
  • Hertz - 304.842.4554





Charlie Dundas, Tri-State Company (

John Gibson, Tri-State Company (


Appropriate field gear for the weather. Expect to be outside during this workshop. We are in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Expect rain and be pleasantly surprised if it stays dry. We will provide lunches on each day of the workshop, first aid kits and all of the tools and equipment necessary for the workshop.  Participants should plan on bringing hard hats, safety glasses, high visibility clothing, work gloves and sturdy work boots. 


At the end of your Workshop, we will return to the Stonewall Resort (5 minute walk). Plan to arrive back at the Hotel at 5:00 pm.