Director of Federal & Legislative Policy

Location : Washington D.C.
Department : Conservation
Supervisor : Senior Director of Conservation
Type : Full-time

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

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) footpath and a surrounding narrow corridor are protected by federal law as established in the National Trails System Act of 1968. Millions of people have the opportunity to experience the Trail, requiring more support for education and management. Today public access and trail continuity are secure, but many of the pristine viewsheds, watersheds, and areas of natural and cultural significance comprising the A.T. landscape remain unprotected and vulnerable to external threats.

ATC seeks a highly energetic, creative and self-motivated individual to join its team to focus on policies and advocacy issues in support of ATC’s strategic goals towards effective stewardship, proactive protection, engaged partners, broader relevancy and operational excellence.

In particular we are seeking policy leadership to work closely with ATC’s Director of Landscape Conservation to advance ATC’s proactive protection goal. The ATC, in partnership with the National Park Service, has launched the A.T. Landscape Conservation Initiative to conserve important resources within the A.T. landscape that are susceptible to the impacts of commercial and residential development, destruction of diverse wildlife and plant habitats, inappropriately sited energy development facilities, and the loss of unfragmented habitat that provides resiliency to the impacts of climate change.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The Director of Federal & Legislative Policy works closely with the ATC’s  Conservation Department leadership and the Executive Director/CEO to identify, strategize, and implement action steps to positively impact policies and public funding that support ATC’s conservation and management goals. He/she works collaboratively with key partners and agency representatives to bring a stronger outdoor recreation voice to public policy and advocacy discussions on landscape conservation, including energy and climate change related policies and funding. The position will also work collaboratively within ATC and with partners to develop effective communication strategies to build awareness and understanding of policy and advocacy issues relevant to the outdoor recreation community and trail conservation.

The Director will also be responsible for leading ATC campaigns to secure necessary public funding that advances land acquisition of important lands within high priority A.T. landscapes as well as for funding to support science based trail and land management. He/She will be on point to lead ATC’s over-arching strategy and response to climate change and the impacts of energy infrastructure development that may impact the A.T. Landscape and hiking experience.

This position will be responsible for tracking, analyzing, and building advocacy support for policies impacting the A.T. at the state and federal level. Qualified candidates will have significant experience building and sustaining relationships with federal and Congressional representatives, as well as experience working effectively with coalitions.

Specific duties include, but are not limited to:


  • Research conservation, management, public funding and climate change related policy issues.
  • Lead team to develop background information for use in testimony, letters, or comments.
  • Lead organizational learning on priority policy issues facing the A.T. landscape.
  • Research, monitor and track key legislative priorities.
  • Function as ATC’s lead lobbyist for Congressional and federal agency engagement for landscapes, Land and Water Conservation Funds, Farm Bill funding opportunities, and energy and climate change policy related to the Trail.



  • Coordinate and lead advocacy campaigns related to landscape threats and effective stewardship.
  • Represent A.T. constituents through interaction with coalitions that support sound landscape conservation and climate change and energy policy.
  • Build new coalitions as needed.
  • Develop and write policy related fact sheets, briefs, and action alerts.
  • Maintain relationships with key agency and Congressional representatives, and strategic conservation partners. 



  • Master’s degree in environmental policy, law degree or similar level of education
  • At least 10 years experience in environmental policy and/or advocacy
  • Significant campaign and legislative experience.
  • Ability to lead major trail protection, legislative and policy campaigns
  • Understanding of climate change science and climate change policy direction.
  • Experience with energy policy and energy infrastructure systems
  • Familiarity with a variety of federal and state land managing agencies.
  • Strong analytical skills with demonstrated experience reviewing legislation.
  • A demonstrated ability to engage diverse stakeholder groups and build relationships to advance action toward goals
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Highly organized self-starter who can track, manage and report on multiple programs and frequently changing priorities with patience, perseverance, minimal supervision and successful completion.

Physical Demands
  • Evenings and weekend work may be required
  • Ability and willingness to travel.

Work Environment

To Apply

Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]

Please no phone calls.  Only responses by [email protected] will be considered.