Wilderness Specialist - Ouachita National Forest, AR

About the Job

Position Title: Wilderness Specialist

Positions Open: 1

Position Duration:  10 months – Starting early May, with optional extension for 10 months

Status: Temporary/Seasonal

Compensation: $17/hour

Position Supervisor: Wilderness Program Manager

Location: Flatside, Caney Creek, Black Fork Mountain, Upper Kiamichi River, Dry Creek and Poteau Wildernesses on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. Forest Service Housing may be available near Mount Ida, Arkansas.

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

This 2022 SAWS Wilderness Specialist (Specialist) will work with six different federally designated wildernesses (listed above) across the Ouachita National Forest. The Specialist will help the forest implement wilderness character monitoring, gathering all legislative and administrative documents and writing wilderness character narratives for the wildernesses on the Ouachita National Forest. The Specialist will learn and become well-versed in the national wilderness character monitoring framework and help coordinate with Forest Service staff to compile relevant wilderness data and documents to be used to write narratives and future baseline assessment reports for the six wildernesses. The Specialist will also act as a resource in the field - collecting data, doing basic trail work and campsite clean up, recruiting volunteers and hosting volunteer days, educating visitors and the general public about national forests, wilderness areas, Leave No Trace.  Throughout the season, the Specialist 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 Responsibilities

  • Complete Wilderness Stewardship Performance deliverables (described above).

  • 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 COVID-19 policies.

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

  • Maintain high standards for project completion.


  • Leave No Trace training

  • 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

  • Up to 80 hours to pursue additional education or training

  • Opportunities for professional networking

  • Sick time accrual

  • Opportunities for pro-rated gear deals

  • Mileage reimbursement for work-related travel


  • 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.

  • Ability to learn quickly.

  • Strong organizational skills.

  • Strong written communication skills.

  • Motivated and self-starer.

  • Ability to complete deliverables with minimal supervision.

  • Proficient with Word and Excel.

  • Ability to travel on foot over rough terrain.

  • Ability to work in a remote and primitive setting.

  • Ability to camp overnight.

  • Personable and comfortable talking to the public.

  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills.

  • Valid driver’s 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.

  • Knowledge or experience with wilderness character monitoring.


  • 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.

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.

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 Eric Giebelstein at ericgiebelstein@wildernessstewards.org. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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