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Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth April 24-25

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/21/09 • Media Contact: Steven J. Smith (603) 646-3661

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Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 1948
Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 1948 (Photo: Dartmouth College Library)
The DOC bestows many unique awards
The DOC bestows many unique awards during Woodsmen's Weekend, including this one
given in 2003. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) will continue its yearlong Centennial celebration by hosting the 63rd annual Woodsmen’s Weekend April 24-25. The DOC, founded in 1909, started this forestry competition in 1947 to sharpen students’ outdoor survival skills. Typically, the DOC hosts the weekend every three years, but this year Dartmouth’s turn was moved up to 2009 so it would coincide with the DOC’s 100th anniversary.

About 200 male and female students from 13 colleges will gather to compete in traditional lumberjacking activities such as crosscut sawing, axe throwing, fire building, log rolling, standing block choping, and quarter-split. In recognition of the DOC's Centennial, four Dartmouth alumni teams (two men's, two women's) have formed to compete in two categories—over the age of 50 and under the age of 50. For the first time in history, and at the DOC's request, the STIHL chainsaw competition will include a women's division. (Saturday at 2 p.m. on the Green.)

Also new this year is birling, a competition between students balancing on logs floating in pools of water. About 2,000 gallons of water will be brought onto the Green for the event. (8 a.m. to noon on Sat.) There will be food vendors on Massachusetts Row on Saturday, along with the Northern Forest Center's "Ways of the Woods" tractor trailer truck displaying forestry exhibits.

Friday’s events, many of which involve canoeing, will take place at the Dartmouth Organic Farm on the Connecticut River. Saturday’s events are on the Green. All events are free and open to the public. See a complete schedule of events.

Portions of the weekend's activities — which have corporate sponsorship from the international chainsaw manufacturer STIHL Incorporated and from Cote and Reney Lumber Co., Inc. of Grantham, N.H. — will be broadcast at a later date on cable television's ESPNU channel.

Alix Perez-Lawrence, a member of the Class of 2010 and one of three student directors of the event, says the events are “mind boggling” to watch. “There are usually two types of spectators—those who know the events and are excited for the outcome, and those who have never seen anything like this and are astounded that Dartmouth has a team of competitive lumberjacks.”

Chris Farmer '08 competes
Chris Farmer '08 competes in the crosscut saw event during Dartmouth's last Woodsmen's Weekend in April 2007. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The DOC was founded on Dec. 14, 1909 by Dartmouth student Fred Harris, who wanted "to stimulate interest in out-of-door winter sports." Now the largest student organization at Dartmouth, the year-round DOC operates nearly a thousand excursions a year. Students oversee 20 cabins throughout N.H. and 75 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Many of the organization’s innovations, including outdoor orientation trips for first-year students, have been replicated nationwide. Learn more about the DOC celebrating 100 years.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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