ATC 2018 Georgia and Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ridgerunner and Caretaker

Location : Multiple Locations ( Deadline is October 23, 2017)
Department : Conservation
Supervisor : Javier Salazar, SORO Trail Facility Manager
Type : Seasonal

Our Mission

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.

Position Summary

ATC Ridgerunners and Caretakers provide information about the A.T. and its intended primitive experience, its location, regulations, and traditions. They work to encourage the best behavior on the part of hikers, to facilitate a positive Trail experience (particularly for those who are poorly prepared), and to elicit the support of those who live nearby, but who may not understand or use the Trail properly. They discourage and mitigate misuse of the Appalachian Trail and its environs by performing educational and public-relations functions. Ridgerunners are assigned to hike specific sections of the A.T., while Caretakers remain at specific overnight sites. They must be able to work both independently with minimal supervision and cooperatively as a member of a team. Applicants should demonstrate the interest and ability to contribute to the public-service effort of working on a national scenic trail and to promote volunteerism and membership in ATC and its club affiliates. They should possess the required skills listed below and be able to attend required training. Applicants must demonstrate maturity, responsibility, initiative, and self-motivation. 

Ridgerunners working in Georgia will work either a 13-week or 16-week season beginning February fifteenth. Ridgerunners working in Great Smoky Mountain National Park will work either a 13-week,16-week, or 29-week season beginning March 1st. In addition to their seasons, all Ridgerunners are required to participate in two weeks of paid staff training, February 1st through February 14th.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • Meet and greet the public and educate them about the A.T., ATC, local Trail clubs, local land owning agencies and Leave No Trace hiking/camping methods.
  • Advise visitors of rules on the A.T. and of NPS, USFS, state, and local regulations.
  • Perform trail maintenance and pick up litter on the Trail, at camp/shelter sites, and at Trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist visitors whenever possible; including assistance in emergency-response incidents
  • Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its shelters.
  • Assist local maintaining clubs with their backcountry sanitation-management projects.
  • Maintain a daily log, report to supervisors at the end of each work period, and submit a written report to ATC at the end of the season detailing season highlights
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.
  • Regularly traverse steep and uneven terrain in all weather conditions, travelling in upwards of fifteen miles daily

  • Commitment to Trail and resource protection efforts
  • Proven ability to work alone with minimal supervision
  • Excellent communication and education skills
  • Ability to interact with the public under stressful conditions
  • Extensive backpacking experience
  • Knowledge of Leave No Trace principles
  • Previous A.T. volunteer experience
  • Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail and ATC
  • Current first-aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable)

Physical Demands

Work Environment

To Apply


Highly qualified seasonal Ridgerunners and Caretakers are recruited each year. They may be hired and managed by ATC or by its affiliated clubs or agencies. Wages vary according to positions and individual qualifications, housing is included with some positions. Interviews will take place in late November and job offers will be made in mid-December.



Please submit an application packet that consists of a resume, list of three references, and a cover letter. Cover letters should detail:

  • Why you are interested in becoming an ATC Ridgerunner/Caretaker
  • How you found out about this position
  • Why you care about protecting the Appalachian Trail
  • Location preference between Great Smoky Mountain National Park or Georgia, near the Southern Terminus of the A.T.

Documents must be submitted as a single PDF file with the format of: Lastname_Firstname_RRapplication 

Applications should be e-mailed to [email protected]

Deadline to apply is October 23rd, 2017