Winter 2023 Western Trail Corps Project Leader

Conservation Begins Here.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA), America’s #1 conservation service organization seeks qualified applicants to lead, educate, and inspire teams for the 2022 Summer Western Trail Corps Season.


Winter Season Dates

Position Length: 1/9/2023 4/22/2023

Project Leader Training and Planning Period: 1/9/2023 2/5/2023

Corps Member Training Period: 2/6/2023 2/18/2023

Field Work Hitches: 2/19/2023 4/15/2023


Position Benefits:

  • Salary range: $700 – $800/week
  • Wilderness First Responder Training included
  • Relocation benefit: $1,100 (half paid on a first paycheck, half paid on the last paycheck)
  • Benefits such as Health Insurance are available for leaders who have accrued 6 months of service time in a 12-month period.
  • Field-based meals are provided.



Arrival Airport: Ontario International Airport, Ontario, CA

Training Location: Ridgecrest, CA


Project Locations: Multiple Locations, depending on position placement

Potential Project Placements Include: Projects frequently change, so check back often for project updates. (Please note- placements will be determined by matching leader candidate skills with project needs)


  • Mendocino National Forest (near Clearlake, CA)
  • Pacific Crest Trail (in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains)
  • Coronado National Forest (near Tucson, AZ)
  • Potentially other locations throughout the Western United States


Position Summary:

Project leaders are responsible for daily management and supervision of a Conservation Trail Corps project in either backcountry or a front-country site with members 18 & older. Project Leaders coordinate with agency partners to plan and implement projects, and with SCA staff to manage crew safety, performance, and logistics in the field. Leaders are required to perform administrative tasks to track project outcomes, approve members timesheets, and manage a field budget.


Program Description:

SCAs Conservation Trail Corps is a team-based program designed to introduce crewmembers to the rigors of conservation fieldwork and practice the interpersonal skills required in a team environment. Teams engage in project work focused on trial building and maintenance. Teams work with a variety of land managers including National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish, and Wildlife Service, State Parks, etc.

The crews will begin their program with a two-week field-based training program before traveling to their respective project sites. Guided by an experienced Project Leader, Corps Members learn and practice all the requisite hard and soft skills that are essential for a successful conservation project.

Trail Corps Teams will travel to their project sites after training and could potentially work on a variety of projects. Trail projects could include clearing the trail corridor, installing grade dips and drainage structures, rehabbing, and reestablishing the tread of a trail, building structures (. e. retaining walls, check steps, fences, or barriers), rerouting the trail to more sustainable locations, or logging out trees that have fallen on the trail. Oftentimes, our teams are the first people to work on these trails in years, and crews should be prepared for a variety of work projects to build and maintain sustainable trails.

Crews are based out of remote tent camps near project sites. Work hitches will be typically 8 to 10 days in length but could vary depending on location and project needs.

Field-life is rugged, and while on the hitch, members should expect to live without electricity, running water, and cell phone reception; additionally, while on the hitch, this program is alcohol and substance-free.

For more information about SCA Trail Corps, check out these reports from some of our past field crews.

2021 Yolla Bolly Wilderness Fire Recovery & Trail Corps

2021 South Fork Trail Corps

2021 Red Salmon Trail Corps


Primary Responsibilities:

  • Act as a Team Supervisor by facilitating teamwork, managing field-based tasks, guiding group dynamics and community building, and being transparent and receptive to ideas when making decisions.
  • Serve as a Teacher by mentoring personal and professional development, teaching environmental stewardship, and teaching conflict resolution skills.
  • Act as a Project Manager by coordinating with agency partners to ensure successful and timely completion of work projects and upholding a position representation of SCA.
  • Perform tasks as a Program Administrator by organizing logistics, completing timely documentation, managing a budget, and communicating with SCA staff, agency partner, and their own team memebers.



  • Must be a minimum of 21 years of age
  • Must have the ability to legally work in the US.
  • Valid driver’s license and MVR that meets SCA standards required
  • Ability to meet SCA’s criminal background check standards
  • Must be able to attend mandatory Crew Leader training: from January 9, 2023, to February 5, 2023.
  • Wilderness First Responder certification is preferred and will be required for backcountry Project Leaders.
  • Experience working with young adults 18 and older; managing group dynamics; teaching in an outdoor environment a plus
  • Experience with conservation work skills or related skills preferred i.e., habitat restoration, trail maintenance, trail construction, chainsaw, carpentry, landscaping, and gardening
  • Ability to perform manual, physical labor for up to 8 to 10 hours per day, exposed to the elements, occasionally lift and/or move 50 pounds or more, and potentially hike up to 8 miles in a day.
  • Not required to provide own housing during the dates of the program.
  • Ability to implement and enforce SCA COVID policies and procedures


Beginning on 1/18/22, all new SCA volunteer program participants are required to provide proof of up-to-date vaccination against COVID-19. Per CDC guidance, up-to-date vaccination now includes all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when indicated. For example, if someone has completed the primary series but is not yet indicated for a booster shot, they are considered up to date. Once a person is indicated for a booster (6 months after Pfizer or Moderna primary series, 2 months after J&J primary series), full and up-to-date vaccination includes the completed booster shot. Visit the following website for more information:


To Apply Click HERE

SCA is an EOE dedicated to workforce diversity.

For more information about SCA, visit us at


Student Conservation Association