2023 Fall Western Trail Corps HP (PO-00735762)

Arrival Date: 10/2/2023   Departure Date: 12/23/2023

Western Trail Corps is an intensive conservation program where members gain skills and experience through hands-on conservation projects. During the program members will work with 4-6 person teams to build new trail and repair existing trails in some of the most amazing landscapes in the country. While on 8-10 day long work hitches, the crew will camp and live in the backcountry along trails that might run through 8,000 ft. mountain passes, past alpine lakes, beneath sequoias and redwoods, or across desert flats studded with saguaros.

Western Trail Corps is rugged, and while on work hitches, members should expect to live without electricity, running water, and cell phone reception. This is an entry-level position with no previous experience required. The crew begins with 2 weeks of training and orientation, where we cover basic tool use, trail design, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and how to build and maintain healthy cultures on your team.  
If you are in the mood to get down and dirty, live lightly on the land, and get some hard work in this season, this is the crew for you.
Member Benefits:
– $650 – one time round trip travel allowance
– $300 – weekly living allowance
– AmeriCorps eligible (450 – hour award, $1,718.25 education award)
– Professional Development Opportunities: Wilderness First Aid, SCA Trail Building Workshop.

Arrival Airport: Ontario International Airport, Ontario, CA
Training Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Project Locations:
Members will arrive at the airport in Ontario, California and SCA will arrange a carpool to the training site in Ridgecrest, California. During the two-week training, members will be divided into crews and given their project locations. 

Potential project placements: (please note: each crew will work at one location, and project locations are subject to change due to funding and agency partner priorities) 
– Mendocino National Forest (northern California) 

Trail Work
Oftentimes the places that Western Trail Corps work have not seen maintenance in several years or decades. Each National Forest will have their own unique set of projects. Work for the season may include:
-Rerouting or building new trail 
-Cutting back brush that is growing into trails
-Installing erosional control structures (grade dips, water bars, turnpikes, etc)
-Reestablishing rutted or washed-out walking surfaces
-Building structures (retaining walls, steps, fences or barriers)
-Removing downed trees from the trail

Crew Living Accommodations
The projects that the crew completes will be spread out across the national forest and members should expect to move camp on a regular basis over the course of the program.

For the duration of the program, members should expect to camp in front country and backcountry settings. For each work hitch, the crew will carry in all food/gear and camp in close proximity to the worksite. At many of these locations members will NOT have access to running water, electricity, or cell service. On non-work days the crew will relocate to a front country campground and will have access to electricity, running water, and showers. Members will also have shared access to an SCA vehicle to run errands on off days. A personal vehicle can be brought to the program and will improve access to local amenities and recreation opportunities on off days.  If you bring a personal vehicle, you will be responsible for finding parking, and do not expect to be able to access it while you are in the field.

Member Responsibilities

  • Complete project tasks as assigned; whether it is trimming back brush from the trail, working with your team to move a large rock, or doing dishes.  Full engagement is expected in all work projects and community activities.
  • Assist the Project Leader with meal planning, developing emergency response plans, and completing logistical tasks.
  • Recording work totals and creating reports for agency partners.
  • Interfacing with general public and partner organizations in a manner that reflects positively upon the crew, organization, and agency.
  • Contribute to a positive and inclusive community on the team. 

Member Qualifications

  • Commitment to living and working within an intensive crew environment.
  • Desire to do manual labor in all weather conditions, including wind, rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, and extremely pleasant days.
  • Passion for the outdoors


  • Backpacking experience
  • Community service experience
  • Valid driver’s license and clean motor vehicle record
  • Community living experience

For more information on what past crews have done and what being on a Corps team is like, check out some of these final reports from similar crews. 
Menodcino National Forest Trail Corps Final Report
Sequoia National Forest Trail Corps Final Report
Shasta Trinity National Forest Trail Corps Final Report

*For SCA's COVID-19 guidance, please refer to www.thesca.org/covid  

For Members who have accepted this position (Please click on the links below to review the steps you need to take to prepare for your position) 
Preparing for your Corps Team Position
Onboarding for Your Corps Team Position
Trail Corps Team Gear Guide


Position ID: PO-00735762

Training Provided: Corps Member Orientation SCA Conservation Skills Wilderness First Aid

Main Area of Focus: Backcountry/Trail work

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Not needed

Housing or Stipend Provided?
D. No housing is available

The teams will spike camp at their project sites.  Travel lodging will be provided by SCA when traveling between project locations. 

Indoor/Outdoor: Outside

US Citizenship: Yes

Student Conservation Association