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CanoeingLynx and PartridgeWalleye Rising

Honoring the pride of the Northland!  We serve to highlight our communities with honest reporting as progress is dependent on facts.  The Northland 

is rich with outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes found in few places around the world.  We respect the need to preserve our environment while 

also allowing for the sustainable incomes and livelihoods of our residents.  Both are needed and possible.

(Pictures courtesy of www.paintingsprintsandarts.com)


Northland Watch:  When you want or need your news fast!  The only place you're going to find the good and bad in your community.

Safety in the Woods
By Jed Ninefeldt

We all do it.  We take the shortcut, the easy, quick way.  As outdoors people, we spend countless hours operating power tools, whether it is chainsaws, brush-saws, or normal household tools run through a generator.  I'm just as guilty as the next person for not taking the time to stop and put on the proper safety equipment.   You think you are just going to stop quickly to cut a tree off a trail or tell yourself you’re just going to cut this one tree down and that's it.  Well, that could exactly be it.

I can remember not so long ago where my dad and me would go out and work on clearing trails or deer stands.  We might have had safety glasses on and maybe earplugs.  As time went on we started using hard hats in conjunction with the glasses and earplugs. My dad has even started wearing chaps when he is using the brush-saw or chainsaw.

The easiest, cheapest, and safest money for everyone is to put on the safety gear.  Normally, it's as simple as wearing a pair of safety glasses and earplugs, but there are many other types of safety equipment that should be used.  When using a brush saw and chainsaw, a person should utilize a full forestry style helmet that includes hearing and eye protection.  Chaps should also be used, and between them and a helmet should cost about $70.00 each.  Safety glasses cost $5.00- $100.00 a pair depending on how fancy you want them.  On the other hand, an average ride in the ambulance is $500.00 not taking into account the treatment costs.  Likewise, an ER visit costs $400.00 and up.
  

I’ve been cutting firewood since I was around 11, now giving me about 22 years of experience.  A stint with the MN DNR allowed me a little more experience than the average person.  Needless to say, I've cut down a fair amount of trees, done the walk-around to see which way it’s leaning, and figure out where I want it to go.  At the same time, looking for widow-makers from the tree and anything close that could spring back from another tree.

 

This last weekend I was out cutting down the last of next year’s firewood and dragging it out.  The last tree I was in the process of cutting was a large birch tree, measuring a little more than 20” in diameter.  I notched the tree where I wanted it to go, started making the cut, and just as the cut was starting to open I was going to take a step back.  During the opening of the cut, I heard the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in my life.  The next thing I knew was I was piled up against a little maple sapling, saw still running a yard away from me, and the tree was down right where I wanted it.  I knelt there while I regained my thoughts and tried to figure out what just happened.  I took the helmet off and it was split from the back to the top, starting again on one side by the brim about two inches up.

 

I found a seven to eight foot branch about 2-3” in diameter had somehow came straight down and hit the back of the helmet.  At this point I got up, experiencing some slight double vision and vertigo.  I finished cutting the limbs off the tree and cut it in half before deciding to call it a day.

 

All of us think, “It won’t happen to me,” but it does.  If I wasn’t wearing the helmet I would either be dead or still in intensive care.