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 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 environments 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 in ATC and its club affiliates. They should possess the required skills listed below and be able to attend required trainings. 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., the ATC, local Trail Clubs, local land agencies and Leave No Trace practices.
  • Advise visitors on rules and regulations pertinent to the A.T. in the Smokies, including general backcountry and thru-hiker permits, proper food storage, and when relevant, parking tag requirements.
  • Perform minor Trail maintenance which includes but not limited to, picking up litter on the Trail, overnight sites, and at Trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist with privy maintenance as needed.
  • Assist visitors, and when necessary and able, aid in emergency response incidents.
  • Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its overnight facilities.
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, Club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.
  • Complete a summary report at the end of each work period and attend a weekly debrief call with supervisors and partners.
  • Regularly traverse steep and uneven terrain in all weather conditions, traveling upwards of 15 miles daily, while carrying approximately 30 pounds.


  • Commitment to ATC management and resource protection efforts.
  • Proven ability to work alone with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to effectively communicate with individuals, groups and partners.
  • Ability to live independently and work in a remote area with minimal supervision.
  • Strong backpacking and outdoor experience.
  • Experience in working with volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels.
  • Ability to hike up to 10 miles per day in steep, mountainous terrain.
  • Basic knowledge of Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s cooperative management system preferred.
  • Comfortable working multiple days outdoors in frequently adverse weather conditions.
  • Leave No Trace Trainer or Master Educator desirable, but training provided.
  • Current First-Aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable) training can be provided.
  • Willingness to undergo background and driving record checks as required.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

  • Work environment is primarily outdoors.
  • May be exposed to difficult physical conditions and seasonal exposure to extreme weather, including rain, snow, humidity, intense heat, and sunlight.
  • Must be able to hike for extended periods carrying an overnight backpack over rough, uneven terrain and wet and slippery surfaces. Routine moderate lifting may be required.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license. Access to a personal vehicle is strongly preferred.
  • Possible exposure to ticks and pests, extreme weather, and hazards typical of a backcountry environment
  • Regular use of a computer is required; Microsoft Office 365, ESRI GIS, ADP, NetSuite, RIMS, or Google applications may be used.

Additional Information

  • Term Length: Approximately May 13, 2024 to September 2, 2024
  • Hourly Rate: $18.00
  • Location/Region required to work from: Pennsylvania A.T. between Pine Grove Furnace State Park and Rausch Gap
  • Benefits: 1 hour of sick time per 30 hours worked.

To Apply

To apply for this position, please submit an application packet via our ADP application portal.

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, 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.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Identity Statement