A night in the woods

PHOTO PROVIDED The teachers and students to attend the PA Wilderness Survival class.

More people are wanting to know ‘what does it take to survive’ in certain outdoor situations.

Art Dawes of Flemington is an instructor and founder of PA Wilderness Survival, which teaches bush craft, survival and emergency skills. He has been ramping up his survival demonstrations and classes all year.

For those adventurers of the outdoors: trail runners, mountain bikers, hunters and others – Dawes has been holding his emergency survival class, the RidgeRunner.

“I added two new classes this year, an intro to backpacking class called the BushWacker and I am holding a class of my more advanced survival class, the CoreFour but just for women,” Dawes said.

The RidgeRunner class is based on a light-weight, compact emergency survival kit Dawes designed. The class focuses on using the kit for an unexpected night in the woods.

PHOTO PROVIDED Students successfully start a fire.

The BushWacker class is a two day, one night class. A hike is planned where participants will be on an established trail and then go off trail to camp for the night.

“I put the class together to give people that wanted to backpack camp an opportunity to try it out with a group, before heading out on their own,” Dawes said. “We also covered the basics of backpacking, wild camping and a bunch of other camping/hiking tips and tricks. It turned out to be a great weekend and I look forward to holding it again next year.”

Dawes travels around as part of a group of instructors that hold weekend training classes throughout different states, including locally.

“We held our first event in Kentucky in April and are working on events in North Carolina and Pennsylvania in the near future. These trainings are part of W.I.T.S. Outdoors or Wilderness Introduction Training & Survival,” he said.

His annual event called Uitwaaien Bushcraft Gathering is taking place again this year September 20-23 at Curtin Village near Howard and Milesburg.

PHOTO PROVIDED Art Dawes teaches the students how to start a fire with dried grass

“This same group on instructors will be at our annual event. Last year was a great success with over 100 people coming for the weekend and a dozen vendors setup selling a wide variety of outdoor-survival gear and tools,” Dawes said. “This year will be even bigger and better. We have a bunch of new vendors and instructors and a lot of the same that came last year.”

More information and tickets are available by going online at www.pagathering.com for all the details. It is a closed event, so tickets have to be purchased your tickets ahead of time.

This past June, Dawes was honored to be part of the first ever Little Loggers Trail Fest. This was a trail race sponsored by PA Train Dog and Revibe Gear, for kids 12 and under, held at the Western Clinton Sportsmen Club.

“I did presentations on fire making and being prepared in the woods for the kids. I was busy all day,” he said. “Once they get a glimpse of some fire making they’re hooked.”

Recently while at the Bald Eagle knap-in he was approached by a representative of Little and Parker Dam State Parks and asked to attend their fall festivals, both scheduled in October, and do some demonstrations and setup as a vendor.

Dawes also plans to attend Black Moshannon summer festival this month and will be going to a big knap-in at Letchworth State park in Castile, N.Y. from Aug 24-26. This is going to be his second year teaching at Black Moshannon State Park’s PA Wilds. Check out www.pawildernessskills.com for information on classes or to register for them.