The Green Mountain Club hires seasonal staff every summer to live and work on the Long Trail System. The summer season runs from mid-June to mid-August. The full season runs from mid-June to mid-October depending on funding. Backcountry Caretakers spend the summer at a site or summit educating the public on the fragile ecosystem, doing trail maintenance and learning the art of compost waste management. They live at one site for the duration of their time, which gives them an opportunity to really know a place. Long Trail Patrol members spend the summer working on specific trail projects. Most of the work they do is intensive, trail structure building using rocks and native timber on small sections trail. They spend shorter spans of time at a variety of locations on the LT System. Want to work with volunteers and on trail crew? Check out the Volunteer Long Trail Patrol! All positions require living in the woods for at least five days at a time with 48 hours off a week. Backcountry Caretakers work weekends and holidays. Working for the Green Mountain Club, means working with partner organizations as well as the volunteers that make the GMC possible. Our partner organizations include the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Green Mountain National Forest, and Vermont Forest, Parks and Recreation as well as some private landowners. You must be 18 years or older to work on Field Staff.
Summer Season runs from mid-June to mid-August and applications are reviewed beginning in February.
Fall Season runs from mid-August to the end of Sept and applications are reviewed beginning in late June.
Long Trail Patrol (LTP)
The Long Trail Patrol (LTP) was established in 1931 as the official trail crew of the Green Mountain Club. The LTP’s focus has changed somewhat over the years from cutting new trail to maintaining the established tread. The main focus of the crew is to work on heavily used and blown out sections of trail that require intensive trail structures or advanced technical skills. There is a focus on rock work because of its ability to hold up in the Northeastern environment.
LTP crews are made up of about six men and women, including a Crew and Asst Crew Leader. The season runs from mid-June through October depending on funding. The summer season runs from mid-June to mid-August and works well for many students. LTP works 40 hours per week in the field. Crews work in all weather! Crew members provide their own personal camping gear and their own food. Days-off housing is available. Transportation to the work site, tools and some group equipment (stove, cook pots, first-aid kit and tents) are provided.
LTP Member Qualifications:
Must have desire to work hard and live outside in all weather conditions. Must have endurance to carry heavy loads and do physical work eight hours a day. Strong group skills are important due to the close working and living conditions. Crew work is not solitary! You will be living in primitive, backcountry spike sites. LTP crews encounter many hikers and must be outgoing and personable. You must follow safety guidelines, share equally in work and camp duties, work with GMC volunteers, accept direction of Crew Leaders and practice Leave No Trace techniques. Knowledge of tool use and trail building techniques is desirable, but on the job training occurs as well. Apply Now!
LTP Leader Qualifications:
Crew Leader’s are responsible for the efficient operation and overall performance of the crew. Duties include setting weekly work schedules, supervising work in progress, weekly work logs and reports, Leave No Trace camp living, following and enforcing safety protocols and problem solving in the backcountry. You should be able to work independently without a lot of guidance. It is important to ask questions when necessary and clarify work goals. Leader’s also act as the on-site liaison with our partner organizations mentioned above. You must be Wilderness First Aid certified (GMC offers a course during training) Apply Now!
Volunteer Long Trail Patrol (VLTP)
The VLTP is an all volunteer trail crew of 8-10 people led by two experienced paid GMC staff – a crew leader and a crew coordinator. Crew weeks run from mid-July to mid-September. This crew works on exciting projects specifically on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. The Long Trail and Appalachian Trail coincide for approximately 100 miles in southern VT before the AT splits off and goes east across VT and into NH. Volunteers work for one week at a time with the opportunity to work up to four weeks! Each week there is a new assortment of crew members from all ages, backgrounds and locations – the US and beyond! You come to base camp in the Green Mountain National Forest on the night before your volunteer week. At this time you will meet your leaders and other trail crew members. The next day you get up and out onto the trail! Projects are less technical than those done by LTP. They include building native puncheon, turnpike, water bars, side hilling and benching trail. You should be ready to work hard and in all weather conditions!
VLTP Crew Leader Description and Qualifications:
As crew leader you work closely with the Crew Coordinator and are responsible for the field portion of the crew. You will be scouting projects with your Field Supervisor, supervising work in progress, interacting with agency partners when necessary and completing weekly paperwork. You will also be educating volunteers on safe tool use, Leave No Trace techniques for living and working in the backcountry, how to build trail structures and more. You will have a crew made up of a smattering of backpacking experience, so you have to be patient and able to teach to all levels. You should be able to delegate tasks to volunteers who seem up to it. You need to get projects done, but also make sure all are having a good time. Having strong trail skills, backcountry experience and a positive outlook is crucial to your success as VLTP crew leader. You must be Wilderness First Aid certified (GMC offers a course during training) Apply Now!
VLTP Crew Coordinator Description and Qualifications:
As crew coordinator you will split your time between the woods and ‘town’. You will assist the VLTP Crew Leader with making the field portion of the program run smoothly. On top of the field fun you will be in charge of managing the logistics of the program. Logistics include, but are not limited to: oversight of base camp, contact future volunteers, be a the point of contact for future volunteer questions, food planning and purchasing and financial record keeping. You spend part of your time in the woods assisting with crew projects and part of the time in town preparing all of these logistics. Town is currently the Mt Tabor Work Center in Mt Tabor, VT. You should be good natured and excited to meet and work with new people. It is important to be organized, logistics are crucial for the VLTP program to operate smoothly. You will have to work independently and as part of team. Experience living in the backcountry and knowing Leave No Trace principles is important. You will be planning menus for up to 12 people per week. You should have a desire to learn and teach new skills to all levels. Knowledge of the AT and LT System are helpful. You must be Wilderness First Aid certified (GMC offers a course during training). Apply Now!
Since the late 1960s the rising popularity of hiking and backpacking has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of people using the Long Trail System. Due to the adverse impacts upon the trail environment associated with this increase the Green Mountain Club established a Ranger Naturalist program. This program has grown and changed over the years into site and summit Backcountry Caretaker. Caretakers employ hiker education and backcountry stewardship in order to minimize and counteract the effects of trail overuse. During the months of greatest hiking activity, caretakers are stationed at overnight campsites associated with vulnerable natural areas. GMC Caretakers are stationed on these mountains during the hiking season to educate visitors on how to minimize their impacts. A low-key, one-to-one educational approach is utilized. The Backcountry Caretaker program is made possible by a network of partnerships throughout the state including: the Green Mountain Club; the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation; the University of Vermont; Stowe Mountain Resort; Smugglers Notch Resort; Sugarbush Valley Resort; Stratton Mountain Corporation; and the Green Mountain National Forest.
Backcountry Caretaker Responsibilities:
A Backcountry Caretaker keeps their site and privy in good condition, maintains ten to twenty miles of trail, encourages Leave No Trace camping techniques, collects trail-use data, and acts as a representative for the GMC and cooperating agencies mentioned above. Backcountry Caretakers live at their assigned sites from their mid-June to October and are on duty 24 hours a day. In addition to protection of these fragile areas, duties include providing information to hikers about the Long Trail System and about natural history, collecting trail use data, preparing reports, and trail maintenance. All caretakers provide their own food, fuel, and other incidentals. The GMC supplies tents (except at sites where the caretaker lives inside the shelter), training, tools and equipment (including stoves, first aid supplies, information about local natural history.)
Caretaker sites in southern Vermont are on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail. Southern sites are near back country ponds which are fragile natural areas heavily used by hikers and campers. The caretakers are expected to be at the ponds on weekends to help educate hikers on their impacts. An exception is the Coolidge Range Ridgerunner who roves among four shelters and about 30 miles of trail in central Vermont, including 4,240' Killington Peak. All southern sites are within the Green Mountain National Forest and caretakers may work with Forest Service employees. These sites are fairly isolated from other GMC staff.
Most Caretakers based in northern Vermont live and work on Camels Hump and Mt Mansfield. The summits of these mountains are especially sensitive because they are above tree line and support many species of rare and endangered alpine plants. Four to five caretakers work on each of these mountains due to the number of overnight sites and high usage. Northern caretakers participate in summit duty multiple times a week during which they educate hikers on the fragility of the system. There are solo caretakers at Battell Shelter on Mt Abraham and Sterling Pond. Caretakers work an irregular five-day week that always includes weekends and holidays.
Backcountry Caretaker Qualifications: Persons interested in a Backcountry Caretaker position must enjoy spending time with other hikers as well as periods of solitude. They should possess strong backpacking and outdoor skills, ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups of trail users, and the exceptional motivation and emotional maturity needed to live and work in remote areas with little supervision. Experience with composting, simple accounting, and Leave No Trace principles is desirable. Knowledge of natural history (geology, flora, fauna, etc), teaching, and interpretive skills are helpful. Knowledge of the Long Trail System is encouraged. Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail is important for sites in southern Vermont where the LT and AT coincide. Wilderness first- aid skills are essential (a class is available at GMC). Caretakers must be committed to backcountry stewardship, dedicated to the goals of the GMC and our agency partners, and enthusiastic about living in the outdoors. Apply Now!
Still have questions? Contact Dave Hardy, Director of Trail Programs