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Backcountry Trails Program

  • 1455 Sandy Prairie Court, Fortuna, CA
  • linktr.ee/backcountrytrails

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Apply by Feb 06, 2023

Backcountry Trails Corpsmember Clone

WHY JOIN THE BACKCOUNTRY TRAILS PROGRAM? Personal growth: Backcountry alumni consistently rate themselves higher in self-confidence, work skills, community-building, and physical fitness after completing the program. Career advancement: Most of our alumni go on to be hired for one or more seasons with other outdoor or conservation organizations, including the NPS and USFS. Rare opportunities: Spend five months living in and exploring some of the most beautiful places in California, where many people only get to visit for a few days in their lives if they’re lucky. New friends: Meet people from all across the country and bond over a unique experience that very few people have done. Trainings and scholarships:  All members receive free Wilderness First Aid certification and a half-time AmeriCorps Segal Education Award, in addition to on-the-job training like wilderness navigation, pack animal safety, and trail construction techniques.


min experience

salary range

$2.6k - $2.6k / month

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

The Backcountry Trails Program is a highly structured, paid, immersive development program for young adults that focuses on trailwork, community, and wilderness exploration.  At 44 years and counting we are the longest-running special program of the California Conservation Corps, and have also been partnered with AmeriCorps for over 25 years.

We are looking for 80 diverse young adults ages 18-25 who are willing to leave behind the conveniences of modern life and venture into the mountains to spend five and a half continuous months doing some of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding work of their lives.

It is NOT a prerequisite that you know how to do trail work or that you are exceptionally strong. It IS essential that you are willing to work very hard, safely, with minimal supervision, and produce quality work.

Selected participants will be assigned to one of 6 backcountry trail crews living and working in a variety of locations across California.  Locations can vary, but often include Yosemite, King’s Canyon, Stanislaus, Inyo, Trinity, and Klamath.

Life in the backcountry is physically and mentally demanding. Crews live for five and half continuous months in remote wilderness camps and hike up to 20 miles per day at elevations up to 13,000 feet. Crews spend their days performing trail maintenance and construction using hand tools, which may include cutting brush with loppers and handsaws, digging with shovels and picks, moving large rocks and logs with metal rock bars and gear-assisted grip-hoists, and clearing fallen trees with crosscut saws.

Backcountry camps are located up to 30 miles from the nearest road, store, phone, or electrical outlet. Camps are extremely rudimentary.  Food, mail, and other supplies are delivered by pack mules once a week.  Meals are provided.  The food is great, and there is lots of it!  Please note though that we may not be able to accommodate highly restrictive diets.

In addition to the daily work requirements, members participate in training and educational classes like native fauna and flora identification, natural history, wilderness survival, wilderness first aid, career development, community building, and health and safety. Corpsmembers also learn how to build a healthy, inclusive community where everyone treats each other with respect and consideration, and has an open mind to the ideas and feelings of others.  Committing to five months in the wilderness with a bunch of strangers is daunting!  We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all our members.


  • Pay is $2610/month, plus a $3447 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award upon completion
  • $500 per month is taken from each paycheck for food.  Health insurance, housing (camping), and Wilderness First Aid certification are provided for free.
  • The 2023 season starts on April 23rd and ends on September 27th.You must be able to start and end on these dates.
  • This is a special program, not a regular trail job!  Participants are required to adhere to certain policies, like the buddy system, sobriety, and non-fraternization, as well as participate in after-work crew activities.


Phone: 707-601-5617 or 707-239-6793

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.ccc.ca.gov/backcountry

Instagram: @BackcountryTrailsProgram

Facebook:  @BackcountryTrails

Special Benefits

  • Free Wilderness First Aid training
  • Free health insurance included
  • Free housing included (camping)
  • All meals provided ($500/month deduction from stipend)
  • Eligible for non-competitive Federal hiring status upon completion
  • Eligible for a $3447 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award upon completion

Minimum Requirements


  • Be a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, U.S. National, or have a green card.
    Applicants do NOT need to be California residents.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 25 years old by the start of the program.
  • Not be on formal probation or parole at the start of the program.
  • Clear all components of the Criminal History Background Check prior to start of program which include: FBI National Check, CA DOJ Check, State or Residence if other than CA check, and National Sex Offender Public Website Check.
  • Pass a pre-employment drug test (urine test) upon arrival at orientation.
  • Pass a pre-employment medical physical demonstrating applicants are physically and mentally able to perform the essential duties of the position.
  • Be able start and finish on the established program dates and have no reason to leave the program barring personal and family emergencies, personal resignation, or disciplinary termination.
  • Have a working e-mail address.
  • Must exit any other AmeriCorps programs no later than the first day of the season.


Apply online here:  https://hipaa.jotform.com/222355919018155

If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or call Chelsea Saeland at 707-601-5617

Applications close February 6th, 2023

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