With so many modern machines for sale or rent at your local home improvement store, you’d be crazy to try to clear land by hand — right? No, says one man who does this for a living: hand tools and fire rakes make a lot of sense.
Jeremy Early learned to clear trails out west at the Philmont Scout Ranch, the Venturing and outdoors camp run by the Boy Scouts of America in New Mexico. He moved his work east to North Carolina, where he prefers the relative “ease” of using hand tools in rugged terrain.
“I find it easier and a better product to do it by hand,” says Early. He admits his crews of 3 to 8 people start with a chainsaw to make a path through the woods, but the rest is digging. Rocks are the hardest to remove, and often come with surprises. Early has been surprised by bats and flying squirrels, to name a few. No buried treasure yet, though!
Early puts these skills to work for more than just business, however. For the last five years he has used them in the Lunch Project, leading trips to Tanzania to provide lunches for school children there. The Lunch Project has also create an empathy education program for children in Charlotte’s elementary and middle schools.
Early will share his stories of “hitting the trails” — in both Tanzania and North Carolina — at Jesse Brown’s Outdoors Storytellers night this Thursday, February 1, at 6pm at Jesse Brown’s. Come hear about life in Africa, and find out where he says new trails are most popular these days.