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.
The Backcountry Trails Program is a highly structured, paid, immersive development program for young adults that focuses on trailwork, community, and wilderness exploration. At 43 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 work that includes clearing logs, brushing and rebuilding trails; clearing and digging drains; rerouting trails around fragile areas; repairing damaged meadows; building and repairing bridges; and building waterbars, steps, rip rap, retaining walls and causeways out of rock or wood materials.
Backcountry camps are located up to 30 miles from the nearest road, store, phone, or electrical outlet. Camps are extremely primitive. 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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Phone: 707-601-5617 or 707-239-6793
Email: [email protected]
HOW TO APPLY:
Apply online through our website at ccc.ca.gov/backcountry.
The application is in two parts. After filling out the first part on our website, you will receive a confirmation email that contains a link to the Supplemental application. You can also access the Supplemental by clicking the “Update Questions” link while logged into the CCC portal. You must submit the Supplemental to be considered.
If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or call Chelsea Saeland at 707-601-5617
Applications will be open until late February, 2022 (exact closing date TBD).
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