Want to see what you’re missing?

Register Now

Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner – Appalachian Trail Conservancy (Harpers Ferry, WV)

Location: Harpers Ferry, WV, USA

Position Type: Temporary, Paid

Age Range: Ages 19-25, Ages 25+

Compensation Range: $15-$20/hr


Submitted by: Rachel
Geographic Areas: Maryland, Pennsylvania

The mission of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. ATC was founded in 1925 and is a private nonprofit organization with more than 30,000 members. It is responsible to the federal government for ensuring proper management of the 2,194-mile-long Appalachian National Scenic Trail (known as the A.T.), most of which is located on public lands administered by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, or agencies of the 14 states through which it passes. ATC assigns sections of the A.T. to 31 Trail-maintaining clubs and provides numerous services to club volunteers.

Each year, ATC and affiliate partners hire Ridgerunners and Caretakers to provide information about the A.T. and its intended primitive experience, its location, regulations, and traditions.


A.T. 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. Some positions combine elements of both. 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.

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 and hikers of rules on the A.T. and of NPS, USFS, state, and local regulations.
  • Perform light trail maintenance and pick up litter on the Trail, at camp/shelter sites, and at Trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist visitors and hikers whenever possible; assist emergency-response agencies when requested.
  • Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its shelters (including vandalism, vagrancy, forest fires, beer and liquor parties, drug use, suspicious persons, vehicles, unauthorized hunting, tree cutting, )
  • Assist local maintaining clubs with their backcountry sanitation projects. Maintain privies at A.T. shelters in satisfactory condition.
  • Maintain a daily log, submit a report to supervisors at the end of each work period, and submit a written report to ATC at the end of the season detailing highlights, problems,
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, club volunteers and agency partners.


Required Skills

  • 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

Desired Skills

  • Knowledge of Leave No Trace principles
    • Some positions provide Leave No Trace training
  • Previous A.T. volunteer experience
  • Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail and ATC
  • Current first-aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable)
    • Some positions provide WFA training

Currently recruiting for:


One Ridgerunner/Caretaker: mid-May through Labor Day, housing available, no pets allowed


One Ridgerunner: Michaux State Forest: mid-May through Labor Day

One Ridgerunner: Northeast Pennsylvania: mid-May through Labor Day


ATC Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness with all employees and volunteers to enable participation and contributions to their fullest potential.

We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization, and recognize that diversity contributes to an effective and successful organizational culture and mission.

The ATC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and/or expression), national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, political affiliation, union membership, or any other status protected by the laws and regulations in the locations where we operate.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Identity Statement