Organizational Mission

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

Primary Purpose

ATC Ridgerunners provide information about the Appalachian Trail (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 (particularly for those who are poorly prepared), 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.

Ridgerunners are assigned to hike specific sections of the A.T. during the day and camp at specific, high-use overnight sites throughout their patrol. 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 with the ATC and its Trail Maintaining Club affiliates. They should possess the required skills listed below and be able to attend required training sessions. Applicants must demonstrate maturity, responsibility, initiative, and self-motivation.

The Cumberland Valley Ridgerunner works a 16-week season between mid-May and Labor Day on a 74-mile section of the A.T. in Pennsylvania between Pine Grove Furnace State Park and Rausch Gap.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Meet and greet the public and educate them about the A.T., the ATC, local Trail Maintaining Clubs, local land agencies, and Leave No Trace practices.
  • Advise visitors on rules and regulations pertinent to the A.T.
  • Perform minor 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.
  • Assist local Trail Maintaining Clubs with privy maintenance.
  • Maintain a daily log, report to supervisors at the end of each work period, and submit a written report to the ATC at the end of each field session.
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, Club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.
  • Regularly traverse steep and uneven terrain in all weather conditions, traveling upwards of fifteen miles daily.


  • 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, especially in winter conditions.
  • Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
  • Previous A.T. volunteer experience is a plus.
  • Current First-Aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable) desirable, but training will be provided.
  • Leave No Trace Trainer or Master Educator certification is desirable, but training will be provided.

Physical Demands and Work Environment:

  • Frequently hiking long distances over rugged terrain in variable weather.
  • Living and performing work in the backcountry for multiple day hitches.
  • Transport field equipment and backpack weighing 30-50 pounds throughout workday.
  • Long hour days in the field and weekend work required, typically 40 hours per week.
  • Possible exposure to ticks and pests, extreme weather, poison ivy, stinging nettle, and hazards typical of a backcountry environment.

Position Benefits:

  • $16.50 per hour rate of pay
  • Travel stipend provided
  • Mobile phone stipend provided

To Apply

Please submit an application packet that consists of a resume and cover letter via our ADP application portal. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please apply as soon as possible.

Click here to apply

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, 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.

Click here to view the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Identity Statement