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Wilderness Ranger - Joyce Kilmer - Slickrock Wilderness

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Position Duration: May 13, 2024 – October 26, 2024 (24 weeks)

Status: Temporary/Seasonal

Compensation: $19/hour

Position Supervisor: Wilderness Program Manager

Location: Robbinsville, NC

Application Deadline: Application will remain open until position is filled.

Position Summary

The 2024 SAWS Wilderness Ranger is based in the Joyce Kilmer - Slickrock Wilderness in the Nantahala National Forest and provides as needed support to the ranger in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. The Ranger will conduct basic trail maintenance, collect wilderness data, recruit and lead volunteers, and engage with visitors. Wilderness trail maintenance will include clearing downed trees, corridor brushing, and removing trash from the trails to ensure trails conform to Forest Service standards. Data collection may include solitude monitoring, user trail monitoring, recreation site monitoring, as well as other data collection as defined by the ranger district and SAWS. Wilderness Rangers regularly engage with visitors on topics that may include wilderness ethics and Leave No Trace education, bear safety and canister use, landscape orientation, safety awareness, and information about the natural environment such as local plants, animals, and geology. The Ranger will recruit volunteers, host volunteer workdays, and work with local volunteer groups to maintain wilderness trails. Throughout the season, the Ranger will develop and maintain a strong, positive relationship with the U.S. Forest Service, nearby partner organizations, and local businesses on behalf of SAWS.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Complete Wilderness Stewardship Performance deliverables (data collection and monitoring).

  • Collaborate with US Forest Service staff and partners on project work.

  • Recruit and engage volunteers in SAWS-led volunteer workdays.

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

  • Practice and teach Leave No Trace principles in the field.

  • Follow SAWS policies and procedures in the field.

  • Maintain an inclusive, safe, fun, and positive working environment.

  • Maintain high standards for project completion.

  • Interact with visitors in ways that create a welcoming environment.

Training and support provided:

  • Leave No Trace Trainer Course

  • Crosscut Saw Certification

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training

  • Wilderness 101 course

  • Wilderness Stewardship Performance training

  • Wilderness Character Monitoring training

Job Resources Include

  • Personal protective gear (gloves, hardhat, basic eye protection, first aid kit)

  • Tools and equipment

  • SAWS uniforms

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion library

  • Wilderness guidebooks and site-specific resources

  • Public Lands Corps (PLC) noncompetitive hiring authority (eligibility requirements exist)

Training and Work


  • Opportunities for professional networking

  • Sick time and wellness accrual

  • Mileage reimbursement for work-related travel



  • Enthusiasm for the SAWS mission and values.

  • Motivated to learn about federally designated wilderness, wilderness character, and natural resource management.

  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with multiple agencies using a variety of platforms (Teams, Zoom, Outlook, etc.)

  • Proficient in time management and scheduling field logistics.

  • Motivated to complete deliverables with minimal supervision.

  • Proficient with Microsoft Word and Excel.

  • Comfortable navigating and hiking independently in the backcountry with a pack over rough terrain in areas with no or limited cell coverage.

  • Ability and desire to work and camp in a remote and primitive setting.

  • Personable and comfortable talking to the public.

  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills.

  • Valid driver’s license, personal vehicle available for traveling to work sites, and backpacking/camping gear.

  • Current First aid and CPR Certification or ability to obtain certification within 30 days of hire.

Additional Helpful Qualifications

  • Knowledge of Leave No Trace principles including backcountry camp and travel practices.

  • Experience with trail maintenance and/or traditional tool use.

  • Experience with ESRI Field Maps, Survey123, and ArcGIS software.

  • Experience collecting, organizing, and entering data.

  • Experience summarizing data and writing reports.

  • Knowledge of natural resources of the region.

  • College degree or professional experience in environmental studies, natural resources, outdoor recreation, or a related field.

About Us

Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) sets standards of excellence that inspire, connect, and equip people to steward wild landscapes. We provide stewardship to protected public lands in the Southern Appalachian region, including Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Kentucky. Founded in 2010, SAWS partners with federal agencies, including the Forest Service, to supplement existing stewardship efforts and provide additional support for training, skill-building, and community engagement. SAWS works to support safe, equitable access to public lands, preserve natural resources, and develop the next generation of conservation stewards. SAWS is headquartered in Asheville, NC with an office in Roanoke, VA.

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. We are committed to working towards equity in the outdoors and in conservation by celebrating diversity, fostering inclusivity, and recognizing and working to address past injustices and barriers to equitable access.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume together as one combined document using the following naming format: Lastname_JoyceKilmerSlickrock_2024. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to apply. Questions regarding the application may be submitted via email to the Wilderness Program Manager, Kristina Macaulay, at  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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