Ridgerunners and caretakers are seasonal employees assigned to hike and camp along high-use sections of the A.T. and at heavily used overnight sites. The ridgerunner and caretaker program helps promote a quality recreational experience for all.
Ridgerunners are assigned to work on specific sections of the Trail, which can be up to 70 miles long. They spend most of their work day on the Trail, talking to hikers and other Trail visitors. At trailheads they may discuss hikers’ itineraries, potential campsites and the importance of using already impacted campsites in heavily used areas. At campsites and shelters they might talk about effective food storage in bear country or area campfire policy.
These trail stewards make note of the condition of the Trail itself, campsites, shelters or other built structures and report any conditions that need immediate attention to maintaining clubs and agency partners. While infrequent, ridgerunners occasionally become involved in emergency responses, including searches for lost hikers or efforts to provide emergency medical treatment to ill or injured hikers.