Position Title: Catawba Mountain Ridgerunner
Location: Catawba, Virginia (near Roanoke and New River Valley)
Supervisor: Education and Outreach Coordinator
Status: Non-Exempt
Department: Conservation


Organizational Mission:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.


Position Summary

ATC Ridgerunners are field-based seasonal positions who provide information about the A.T. and its intended primitive experience, location, regulations, and traditions. They work to encourage the best behavior on the part of hikers to facilitate a positive Trail experience, and to elicit the support of those who live nearby. They discourage and mitigate misuse of the Appalachian Trail and its environs by performing educational and public-relations functions.

Like other Ridgerunner positions, the Catawba Mountain Ridegerunner’s primary role is to patrol a specific section of the A.T. and perform tasks related to visitor education, monitoring and reporting conditions, and mitigating impacts as needed. However, this position is not entirely field-based: approximately 20% of the Ridgerunner’s time is allocated for training and supporting Volunteer Ridgerunners from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and supporting communications between all A.T. partners in the area.

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.

The 2021 Catawba Mountain Ridgerunner will work a 30-week season from mid-April to early November.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Meet and greet the public and educate them about the A.T., ATC, local Trail Clubs, local land agencies and Leave No Trace practices.
  • Advise visitors on rules and regulations pertinent to the A.T.
  • Perform basic Trail maintenance and pick up litter on the Trail, at overnight sites, and at Trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist visitors, including assistance in emergency-response incidents.
  • Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its overnight facilities.
  • Maintain a daily log, reported via email to supervisors and partners each week.
  • Compile reports from Volunteer Ridgerunners into weekly reports to be shared via email.
  • Assist in training of new and incumbent Volunteer Ridgerunners, and serve as primary point of contact for Volunteer Ridgerunners during the season.
  • Participate in partnership meetings and other communication among partners related to Visitor Use Management in the “Virginia Triple Crown” area.
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, Club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.
  • Regularly traverse steep and uneven terrain in all weather conditions, travelling upwards of fifteen miles daily, carrying as much as 50 lbs.

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 in all seasons.


Desired Skills

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

To Apply


Please submit a single pdf that consists of a resume, list of two references, and a cover letter. Cover letters should detail:

  • Why you are interested in becoming an ATC Ridgerunner
  • How you found out about this position
  • Previous seasonal or relevant work experience


Questions can be e-mailed to:

Kathryn Herndon-Powell, ATC Education and Outreach Coordinator, kherndon@appalachiantrail.org

Deadline to apply is February 22, 2021


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, sexual orientation, 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.