Wilderness Ranger Intern

Expected Dates
May 14, 2018 to August 5, 2018
Huron-Manistee National Forest
Position ID
The Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District is offering a Wilderness Ranger Internship position to assist in educational outreach and environmental stewardship activities within the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. The successful candidate will need to be self-motivated, able to work with a wide array of the public in a variety of settings, and capable of identifying and implementing environmental stewardship projects in ways that are consistent with the management of designated Wilderness Areas. This work will, at times, be physically arduous.
SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF SERVICE: The Wilderness Ranger will serve as the District’s point of contact within the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. During the field season, the Wilderness Ranger will travel on foot throughout this area, make visitor contacts, maintain hiking trails with hand tools, eradicate non-native invasive plants, and monitor the resources, including the presence of federally endangered plants and animals. In addition, the Wilderness Ranger will be responsible for the maintenance of the facilities associated with the Nordhouse Wilderness Area and ensuring the character of the Wilderness is upheld throughout the season. Other opportunities on the District may include: maintaining the North Country National Scenic Hiking Trail, stewardship projects on one of the two National Wild and Scenic Rivers, working with other volunteer groups, and working with others on the District’s Recreation Team.

Wilderness Education and Outreach:
  • Develop and facilitate presentations on the meaning of the Wilderness designation and on the important characteristics of the Nordhouse Wilderness Area.
  • Serve as the public point of contact within the Nordhouse Wilderness Area and conduct informal education with the general public in remote settings.
  • Work with adjacent landowners (private and State) to ensure that the Wilderness characteristics are being maintained. 

Wilderness Stewardship:

Identify and conduct land management activities within the Nordhouse Wilderness Area that are consistent with the National Designation. These may include such activities as:

  • Maintenance and reclamation of hiking trail systems with hand tools;
  • Perform campsite inventories;
  • Identification and appropriate treatment of non-native invasive plant species;
  • Removing refuse;
  • Reclamation of dispersed camping areas;
  • Identification and monitoring of resources, including federally listed plant and animal species.

Volunteer Engagement:

  • Establish and encourage small volunteer groups to assist in the accomplishment of management goals within the Nordhouse Wilderness Area.
  • Work with already existing volunteer groups in accomplishing their seasonal operational goals (i.e. North Country National Scenic Trail Association, etc.)

Other Duties as Assigned:

  • Maintain necessary certifications, including knowledge of Wilderness stewardship.
  • Work with other recreation staff to maintain developed and dispersed public recreation sites and to accomplish seasonal objectives.
  • Assist other resource areas (i.e. timber, wildlife, fisheries, botany) in the accomplishment of their annual program of work.

The AmeriCorps award for this position is dependant on availability at the time of candidate selection.


  • The Huron-Manistee National Forests comprise almost a million acres of public lands extending across the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. These lands provide recreation opportunities for visitors, habitat for fish and wildlife, and resources for local industry.

    The Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District is the northernmost District on the Manistee portion of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. The town of Manistee is located on Lake Michigan and borders the western portion of the District. The district encompasses as far north to Mesick, west to Cadillac, and south to Freesoil. On the District is the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. Nordhouse Dunes was designated a Wilderness Area by Congress in 1987 and is the only designated wilderness in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, encompassing 3,450 acres. Nordhouse Dunes is part of the Ludington Dune Ecosystem, which has the largest fresh water interdunal pond system in the world. Dune grass covers many of the dunes and provides habitat for a variety of plant and wildlife species, including the federally endangered Pitcher’s Thistle and Piping Plover.

    The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is a Federally designated wilderness in Michigan’s lower peninsula and encompasses 3,450 acres of National Forest.

    Nordhouse Dunes is part of the Ludington Dune Ecosystem, which also includes Lake Michigan Recreation Area, and Ludington State Park. The dunes were formed 3,500 to 4,000 years ago and stand up to 140 feet high. Ludington Dune Ecosystem has the largest area of fresh water interdunal ponds in the world. The interdunal ponds, small water holes and marshes, decorate the area. Dune grass covers many of the dunes and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

    The wilderness area is popular for hiking, camping, hunting, nature study and wildlife viewing. There are approximately 10-miles of trail that can be accessed from 2 developed trailheads at the end of Nurnberg Road and Lake Michigan Recreation Area.

  • Training opportunities will be available to interns including, 4WD, 1st Aid/CPR, Leave No Trace, traditional tool and more.
  • The Intern may have educational opportunities working across disciplines with Botany, Timber, Wildlife crews. Recreational opportunities including hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, disc golf, camping, fishing, hunting, and more.
  • Yes
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience