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Field Crew Member

Position Duration: May 15 to August

Status: Temporary/Seasonal

Compensation: $15.00/hr paid every two weeks

Training Schedule: Training is Monday-Friday but may change as training requires.

Hitch Schedule: 8 days working, 6 days off (8 10-hour days) with potential at the end of the season to require 10 days working, 4 days off (10 8-hour days). Exact schedules will be finalized in the spring.

Location: Crews are based out of Asheville, North Carolina but will be camping and working within various National Forests across the southeast region.

Supervisor: Crew Leader

Crew Structure: One Crew Leader, one Assistant Crew Leader, 4-5 Crew Members

Hiring Timeline:

*Dates are ideal but applicants may be contacted earlier.*

February 19, 2022: Applications close. Applications received will be reviewed and responded to on a rolling basis.  
February 22, 2022: All applicants contacted for interviews.
March 3, 2022: First round of interviews completed.
February 8, 2022: Reference checks completed.

March 17, 2022: All positions hired.

Four Field Crew Members will work under supervision of a Field Crew Leader and an Assistant Field Crew Leader while camping and working on remote projects with limited to no cell service. Crews are expected to backpack and live in physically demanding, remote environments for at least 8 (and sometimes 10) days at a time. Conditions of this environment may vary significantly including freezing temperatures, high humidity, persistent rain, and high elevation. The remote nature of our work may mean delayed access to medical care. Crew Members should have good communication skills and judgment, an ability to be trained in the field, professionalism, initiative, willingness to learn, ability to express needs and concerns, emotional maturity and resilience, resourcefulness, and comfort in the outdoors with minimal contact to others while on hitch.

A typical work hitch includes meeting at the SAWS office, driving several hours to a trailhead, backpacking into the project site, staying in the field for 8 days at a time, hiking out, traveling back to the office, cleaning gear, tools, vehicles, and preparing for the next hitch.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Duties are done under supervision of the Crew Leader and Assistant Crew Leader

  • Complete field crew member training

  • Work with crew leaders to effectively complete critical backcountry stewardship projects while maintaining high standards for project completion

  • Assist in developing and maintaining effective, positive relationships with US Forest Service personnel, partner organization staff, and partner organization volunteers

  • Create media (blogs, photography, video, etc.) to share for reporting and documentation

  • Backpack, camp, and work in physically demanding, remote environments for at least 8 (and sometimes 10) days at a time in adverse weather

  • Help to maintain a crew cache of tools and equipment

  • Learn and practice ‘Leave no Trace’ techniques

  • Follow SAWS organizational policies in the field

  • Contribute to an inclusive, safe, positive, and fun working environment

  • Use a variety of hand tools and understand complex rigging systems

Field Crew Members will complete at least 2 weeks of orientation followed by a 10-week summer season. Some potential for work after August.

Pre-season training consists of:

  • Crosscut saw training

  • Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification

  • Trail building and maintenance instruction

  • Leadership skill development

  • Backcountry camp and hygiene procedures

  • Organizational policies and procedures

  • Wilderness Skills Institute attendance

Once the season starts, all field crews may address projects including, but not limited to:

  • Trail relocations

  • Erosion control (installation of water bars, grade dips, log or stone steps, etc.)

  • Reestablishing trail surface

  • Brushing trail corridors and removing downed trees

  • Rockwork

  • Public education (Leave No Trace, bear safety and awareness, Wilderness education, etc.)

Training and Work


  • Crosscut saw certification (level depends on proficiency)

  • Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification

  • Food stipend is provided ($10/day) during hitches

  • May qualify for Public Land Service Corp (PLC) Hiring Authority certificate

  • Opportunities for professional network growth

  • Sick time accrual

  • Opportunities for pro-rated gear deals


In addition to enthusiasm for the SAWS mission, applicants should have the following:

  • Commitment to SAWS’ Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion values and dismantling racist systems and barriers to access to public lands.

  • Ability to travel on foot over rough terrain for up to 10 miles per day while carrying 60lbs. or more

  • Ability and desire to create a safe and inclusive work culture

  • Knowledge about group dynamics and conflict resolution

  • Ability to live and work in a remote and primitive setting with a diverse group of people without an ability to communicate with folks outside the crew

  • Desire to be a member of a hard-working team and transformative non-profit organization

  • Ability to regularly lift and/or move up to 60 pounds

  • Required to drive a SAWS vehicle

  • Must be able to speak, understand, read, and write English

  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions

  • Ability to pass a background check

  • Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident

  • Trail work and/or backpacking experience preferred

About Us

Founded in 2010, the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is a conservation non-profit organization with expertise in federally designated Wilderness. We are dedicated to educating, cultivating, and empowering an engaged public and the next generation in the stewardship of public lands in the Southeast. At SAWS, we believe that taking care of our public lands and connecting them to the next generation matters. We also believe that it is our shared responsibility to care for these lands; to advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity in the outdoors; and to educate, train, and develop a skilled workforce to be the next conservation stewards and conservation leaders.

Headquartered in Asheville, NC and with an office in Roanoke, VA, we focus our efforts on wilderness areas in National Forests throughout the southern Appalachian region. We regularly work in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, and respond on a case-by-case basis to requests for assistance in other locations.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume at the bottom of this page. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to apply. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.

Questions regarding the application may be submitted to Rebekah Morrisson, Field Program Manager at

SAWS is an equal opportunity employer and provides a drug-free workplace. SAWS values a safe, inclusive work environment, free from discrimination of any kind.  

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