Volunteer Orientation

New Volunteer Orientation

Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities

Our goal is to ensure you feel valued and appreciated as an A.T. volunteer. As a volunteer, you have rights and certain responsibilities, as well as protections extended to you.


Volunteer Rights

All volunteers on the A.T. have the right to:

  1. Be treated with respect.
  2. A workplace free of harassment, discrimination, or hostile conditions.
  3. Receive a suitable assignment.
  4. Receive training and support.
  5. Have qualified supervision.
  6. Safe working conditions.
  7. Have their time used effectively.

Volunteer Responsibilities

All volunteers have the responsibility to:

  1. Make safety the highest priority.
  2. Act in a professional manner.
  3. Follow Trail policies and guidelines.
  4. Participate in and learn from training sessions and meetings.
  5. Do high quality, professional work.
  6. Care for Trail resources.
  7. Seek and accept guidance and support.

Volunteer Protections

Volunteers are allowed to work on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail under the Volunteers in Parks Act of 1969 and the Volunteers in Forests Act of 1972, which created the Volunteers in Parks (VIP) and Volunteers in Forests (VIF) programs, respectively. All volunteer work is supported by a Volunteer Services Agreement (VSA) that describes the work, training, standards, and expectations related to the volunteer duties.

Most importantly, the VSA allows the federal government to extend protections to volunteers, including compensation for work-related injuries and immunity from liability.

If you have a grievance where your rights as a volunteer have been violated, or wish to report misconduct in the A.T. volunteer network, please do so here:

A.T. Volunteer Network Misconduct Reporting Tool


The Appalachian Trail would not exist without volunteers. As the heart and soul of the Trail, volunteers contribute more than 240,000 hours each year to preserve and protect the Trail and its resources.

As stewards of the A.T., volunteers are active in all aspects of Trail-related work, from maintenance of the footpath and its facilities to greeting guests at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s visitor centers. Volunteers work within a three-part “cooperative management system,” which includes the local trail maintaining club, the land management agencies, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Collectively, these entities, comprising thousands of people, work together to manage the Trail under a common vision for stewardship and function.

Learn more about Cooperative Management



Your safety is our first priority. Resources for safety help prevent injury to yourself or others in the course of your work. Volunteers should know and follow all policies and procedures relevant to the work to protect the Trail and its resources.

Training & Learning Center:

Take time to undergo the proper training for the work you will be doing.


Ensure you and your team have the resources and tools necessary for the job and plan in advance to avoid accidents.


Volunteer Recognition

Volunteers are “the soul” of the Appalachian Trail, and we appreciate all of their efforts! These extraordinary people put in approximately 200,000 hours of volunteer work every year in an effort to keep the A.T. open and in good repair and to manage and promote the Trail. Click the buttons below to learn more, or to nominate someone you believe should be recognized.

See more spotlighted volunteers