The Backcountry Trails Program is an AmeriCorps program that has long partnered with public land management agencies to open, restore, and repair some of California’s most rugged and remote trails. Each season, we train our corps members in highly technical trail construction techniques while living and serving in wilderness areas for five continuous months.
Resupplied by mule trains or helicopters, living in tents, hiking to work everyday, and growing a community of future conservation workers, the Backcoutry Trails Program is a transformational experience for everyone.
Backcountry corps members work in some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in California. Guided and mentored by public land management agency professionals, they will learn the trades of trail work – masonry, tread repair, saw operations, and habitat restoration in denuded sites. The work is hard, performed over steep, mountainous terrain and in all weather (including heat, freezing cold, snow, rain). The experience is a grand adventure, with crews living deep in wilderness areas for many months at a time.
The physical and technical aspects are to be expected. We also expect our members to build healthy, inclusive, and safe communities while living in the backcountry. This is acheived through weekly community meetings, training on wilderness ethics and safety, and a crew-planned curriculum. We also equip our crew supervisors to teach members the fundamentals in non-violent communication, conflict resolution, and team-building.
Members will live in tents, far removed from most modern amenities, such as phone service, hot running water, electricity, and quick access to the nearest road or medical care. This means members will only be able to reliably communicate with loved ones through hand-written letters. To mitigate the risks that come from living in remote wilderness areas, we provide excellent recurring training in wilderness medicine, swift water, wilderness navigation, and job-hazard/risk assessments to help prepare for all emergencies.
Many of our program alumni have gone on to become leaders within the land management fields, including as wilderness rangers, search and rescue technicians, wildland fire and aviation support, trail crew leaders, facility managers for national parks, cultural and interpretive liasons, conservation planners, and more.
No experience in backpacking or trail work is needed to be considered (you’ll learn plenty of this). We do encourage candidates with the following qualifications to apply:
- Highly motivated, well-organized, and ready to engage with crewmates
- Preparedness in somewhat structured environments
- Flexible, with a good sense of humor
- Supportive of crew mates from all backgrounds
- Willing to work hard, day after day
- Ready to try something new and different than what they’re used to
- Must commit to the full season
The BCTP is a commitment, above all. The AmeriCorps term is 900 hours, or roughly five and a half months. Candidates must be able to start on April 21st, 2024 and complete the term on September 26, 2024.
Members earn a monthly stipend of $2,709, receive free health benefits, may be eligible for child care, and earn a $3,450 AmeriCorps Education Award upon completing their service term. Those with student loans may also place their loans in forebearance for the service term’s duration.
Other benefits unique to Backcountry Trails: free rent (you’re living in a tent), weekly mail and food delivery to each crew’s camp via mule or helicopter; twice-daily meals prepared by a cook; incredible weekend backbacking adventures; and a Public Lands Corps certification – allowing you to competitively apply for federal land management jobs!
To apply, submit your application on Jot Form using this link: https://form.jotform.com/232824324559157
Please check out our LinkTree for more information on the program, including upcoming information sessions and our social media pages.
You can also reach out to us with any questions at email@example.com or call us at 707-601-5617.