Begin Your Journey

About Volunteering

Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is a project built on civic engagement. It exists because people like you step up and help out in a variety of ways, outdoors or inside. Activities can be physical (such as Trail work or boundary maintenance), creative (like contributing photography or writing), or organizational (like planning or leading activities).

Volunteers gain new skills through their work. Whether you volunteer because you enjoy time in nature, want to forge new friendships, or appreciate having a deeper connection to a place you hold in high regard, we are glad you are here.

There are a variety of ways to contribute your talents and your time.

Find a Volunteer Opportunity

The A.T. Volunteer Engagement Platform allows you to find activities by sorting by your availability, your interests, or location. If you need training to get started, you can find those opportunities as well.


Be Part of the Experience

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Each volunteer experience is unique. Volunteering for a day or longer, volunteers often recount their experience as a significant milestone in their life.

Like a hike that offers your spirit a reset, volunteering for the A.T. offers the chance to slow down and better connect with yourself and nature. The competing demands of life are always present, so prioritizing showing up for yourself and the A.T. might mean bringing a friend or your children along to share the experience.

If you are just starting out, there will be someone there to make sure you have the know-how to do the task. Training and resources are provided, and a community of people exist to support you throughout your experience.

Find a Volunteer Opportunity

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Making a Difference

The A.T. doesn’t just exist. The magic provided by A.T. volunteers is that the Trail looks natural and the path is open. Without volunteers’ efforts, scenic locations might be defaced by graffiti, natural forests overtaken by non-native and invasive species, or the A.T. itself could be hard to walk on because of fallen trees and branches, or because parts of the treadway have eroded away.

The A.T. requires more than 200,000 hours of work annually. Each volunteer’s work has a ripple effect that inspires a connection with nature by the millions of people who walk some part of it every year. Each valuable hour contributed by people like you is magnified, producing a protected place for people and wildlife along the eastern U.S. This doesn’t mean all volunteering takes place outside (though there are plenty of opportunities for that). Some volunteers work remotely to support the Trail by completing tasks that might include data entry or graphic design.

The amount you volunteer depends on a variety of factors, starting with how much you are willing and/or able to contribute. It might be a day (or less), or it might be a position that lasts a year or more. Each opportunity on the A.T. Volunteer Engagement Platform includes information about duration and expectations. Volunteer opportunities are always changing, depending on the season, so try out a variety of roles to see which one(s) suit you best.

Volunteering can be what you want it to be, so be sure to have an honest conversation with volunteer leaders about your needs and availability, as well as your areas of interest.

Explore What’s Available.


Finding Your Place in This Space

Volunteering on the A.T. provides the satisfaction of working hard and contributing to a larger cause. The reasons why any volunteer gets involved depends on personal experiences and interests.

Volunteers do a lot of different things in their day-to-day life, full of varied interests and skills. You might meet farmers, knitters, scientists, or accountants. You might work shoulder-to-shoulder with a retiree or a college student.

Bringing curiosity and a can-do attitude benefits you and your assignment, and activity leaders will offer support and guidance.

The fastest way to engage is to find a volunteer work party near you. If you enjoy the experience, there are opportunities to train as a leader so you can help others have a rewarding experience, too.

If you’re farther from the Trail, opportunities to join multi-day activities are also an option. When planning a trip to volunteer, also consider visiting an A.T. Community.

Define Your Connection.

 

Think Globally, Volunteer Locally

If you have ever dreamed of being part of something bigger, the A.T. offers that opportunity in spades.

As an A.T. volunteer, your work most often is supported through a regional A.T. Maintaining Club.

A.T. Maintaining Clubs make up a network of care for the Trail across 14-states. The Appalachian Trail

Conservancy (ATC) convenes clubs and land managers to share in decision-making about how the Trail is cared for, ensuring hikers enjoy a unified experience no matter where they step onto the A.T.

The A.T. wouldn’t exist without volunteers. Volunteers established the route, built the footpath, are active in its protection, and care for it continuously today. The challenge is ensuring the A.T. is cared for beyond just today.

That’s where you come in.

When you start your journey as an A.T. volunteer, you become a torchbearer for the epic project in civic engagement called the A.T. You say that nature should be prioritized, and that we deserve a place to get away from modern demands and reset the human spirit by finding that, as A.T. visionary Benton McKaye once said, “oxygen is optimism.”

Embark on Your Volunteer Journey.