Organizational Mission

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

Position Summary

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 environment 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 training. 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., ATC, local Trail Clubs, local land managing agencies and Leave No Trace principles.
  • Advise visitors on rules, regulations, and current conditions pertinent to the A.T. and applicable land managing agencies.
  • Perform minor trail maintenance including removing obstructions, managing drainage, and removing litter from the treadway, overnight sites, and trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist visitors as needed which includes aiding during emergency responses and other incidents as necessary.
  • Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T., treadway, facilities, and lands.
  • Assist local maintaining Clubs as needed with shelter, overnight site, treadway and other maintenance and repair projects.
  • Maintain a daily log, report to supervisors and partners at the end of each work period.
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, Club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.


  • 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 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 Level 2 or Level 3 training (Trainer or Master Educator) desirable, but training is provided.
  • Current Wilderness First-Aid, or higher and CPR certification is preferred; 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 days and overnights
  • May be exposed to hazardous physical conditions and seasonal exposure to extreme weather conditions, including rain, snow, humidity, intense heat, and sunlight.
  • Must be able to hike for extended periods and perform routine moderate lifting carrying up to 50 pounds in a backpack over a minimum of five miles through rough, uneven terrain, and wet, and slippery surfaces.
  • Long days in the field and weekend work, typically 40 hours per week.
  • Possible exposure to ticks and pests, extreme weather, and hazards typical of a backcountry environment.
  • Regular use of a computer is required; Microsoft Office, Office 365, ESRI GIS, NPS database, APD, NetSuite, RIMS, and Google applications are used.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license, and access to a reliable personal vehicle.

Additional Information:

  • Term Length: Approximately April 8, 2024 – August 8, 2024
  • Hourly Rate: ($18.00 – $19.00)
  • Location/Region required to work from: Central Virginia
  • 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