Are you someone who enjoys hiking, backpacking, and camping? Have you ever thought about having a job that lets you work all day out on the trails? Believe it or not, they do exist. One job you may want to consider is being part of the trail crew. Trail crew positions are rewarding, let you spend your time out in nature, and give you skills that you would have a difficult time gaining elsewhere.
What They Do
Being part of a trail crew means that you will spend your days working out on the trails. There is a good chance that by night you will be camping out at your worksite as well. Some of the job duties of those on the trail crew include patrolling trails, removing debris, cleaning drains, cleaning up after severe storms, and building retaining walls and stone steps. The overall job duty of the trail crew is to help maintain trails and provide them with basic maintenance.
Being on a trail crew can be a rewarding job. At the end of the day you will know you are helping to ensure that the trails remain in good condition and that numerous people will enjoy their hikes out into nature because of them. It is a job where you are really a part of the solution in helping to make a better world and help people enjoy nature more. Whether you spend your days removing downed trees and branches, or you build a boardwalk to help hikers over a wetland area, your work will be directly used by others.
Getting the Job
One of the good things about entering the trail crew profession is that it is open to most people. You do not have to have any formalized training or education. You will need to be 18 years old, be in good physical condition, and have the ability to hike 8-10 miles per day, as well as carry a 40 pound backpack while you do it. This job is for those who love to be outdoors, and who want to make a difference for others who like to be outdoors. It is also for someone who doesn’t mind getting dirty, because there are days when you will get dirty, depending on the task at hand.
A trail crew job will put you in a prime position to learn trail skills that can use on the job and in your own recreational life. The on-the-job training will allow you to gain new skills that you can use to move into a trail crew leader position, as well as take to other outdoor positions, such as becoming a park ranger.
Getting Paid and Beyond
Those who are hired to be a part of a trail crew can expect to earn anywhere from $11-15 per hour. Those in trail crew leader positions will earn around $17-19 per hour. With experience and advanced skills you will be in a position to move into a leader position. Skills that you may want to work on acquiring (and that you will hone on the job) including using a handheld GPS, map reading, camping safety, first aid, conservation knowledge, and hiking/trail skills.
The trail crew helps to preserve our natural resources and make them more accessible to hikers and those backpacking. It is an important position and one that can be enjoyed by those who like to work outdoors. Jobs may be seasonal depending on the geographic area you are in. This is a position that nature lovers may never want to leave!