Wilderness Ranger - TN/GA

About the Job

Position Duration : 23 weeks, starting early May

Status: Temporary/Seasonal

Compensation: $15.00/hr

Position Supervisor:  Program Manager

Location: Cohutta, Big Frog, Little Frog Mountain, and Gee Creek Wildernesses in Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests

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

Summary: The 2021 SAWS Wilderness Rangers (Rangers) are field-going staff working on five different federally designated wildernesses (listed above) across the Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests. The Rangers will work together to conduct basic trail maintenance, collect needed wilderness data, 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. Unauthorized trails will be decommissioned and rehabbed in priority areas. Data collection will include mapping and surveying Paulownia tree infestations, recreation site inventories, and solitude monitoring. Additionally, Rangers will regularly engage with visitors on topics that may include wilderness ethics and Leave No Trace education, landscape orientation, safety awareness, and/or information about the natural environment such as local plants, animals, and geology. Throughout the season, Rangers will continue to develop and maintain a strong, positive relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and nearby partner organizations on behalf of SAWS.

Essential Duties and Responsibilites

  • Complete Wilderness Stewardship Performance deliverables.

  • Coordinate with U.S. Forest Service staff and partners on project work.

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

  • Model and practice Leave No Trace principles in the field.

  • Follow SAWS policies and procedures in the field including about COVID-19.

  • 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.


  • Enthusiasm for the SAWS mission.

  • A shared commitment to our values.

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

  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills.

  • Ability to travel on foot over rough terrain.

  • Ability to work in a remote and primitive setting.

  • Ability to camp overnight for multiple nights.

  • Strong data organization skills.

  • Ability to complete deliverables with minimal supervision.

  • Valid drivers license and reliable transportation.

Additional Helpful Qualifications

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

  • Experience with the ESRI Collector and ArcGIS software.

  • Degree or professional experience in environmental studies, natural resources, geospatial information systems, or a related field.

  • Knowledge of natural resources of the region.


  • Leave No Trace Trainer Course 

  • First Aid and CPR Certification 

  • Crosscut Saw Certification 

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training 

  • Wilderness 101 course 

  • Wilderness Stewardship Performance training 

  • Wilderness Character Monitoring training 

  • Opportunities for professional networking 

  • Sick time accrual 

  • Opportunities for pro-rated gear deals 

  • Mileage reimbursement for work-related travel 

Job Resources

  • Personal protective gear

  • Tools and equipment

  • Camping gear

  • SAWS uniforms

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion library

  • Wilderness guidebooks and site-specific resources

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

About Us

Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is a conservation non-profit dedicated to providing stewardship to protected public lands in the Southern Appalachian region, including in 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.

Learn more about SAWS: www.wildernessstewards.org.

To Apply

Please fill out the application form below and submit a cover letter and resume using the upload buttons. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to apply. Questions regarding the application may be submitted via email to Kaitlin de Varona, Program Manager at katedevarona@wildernessstewards.org. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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, including by celebrating diversity, fostering inclusivity, and recognizing and working to address past injustices and barriers to equitable access.

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