Seasonal San Juan Stewardship Crew

San Juan Mountains Association

Durango, Colorado

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $15/hour + end of season bonus
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

SJMA is recruiting for a crew of highly skilled backcountry wilderness crew members who can operate in remote wilderness locations (often at high elevation) to make public contacts, conduct routine trail maintenance, clear trails of downed trees, help implement volunteer stewardship projects, and conduct wilderness monitoring. This is a unique opportunity for applicants with prior wilderness ranger, trail crew or youth corps experience to help protect some of Colorado’s most iconic wilderness locations while taking the next step towards a career in public lands management. The San Juan Wilderness Stewardship Crew will conduct a variety of backcountry wilderness projects under the supervision of a Forest Service crew leader. The crew will be split into teams of 2-4 as necessary to help provide a backcountry ranger presence and conduct a variety of wilderness stewardship activities. Primary duties will focus on public outreach, trail work, and wilderness characteristic monitoring. Rangers will receive a broad spectrum of relevant training and will end the season with a wide range of wilderness stewardship experience. This is a life-changing experience for the right applicant who will make an immediate impact on the land and build lifelong memories in some of Colorado’s most spectacular wilderness landscapes.

Work Environment

Work is performed primarily in the field, often in remote locations for multiple days at a time. Work will be full time (40 hours/week) during the field season (Late May – August) and will generally follow a four-days on, three-days off work schedule with occasional 8 day hitches. During that time, overnight travel and backpacking is mandatory to complete all projects. There may be a couple eight-day hitches for more remote project locations. Light office duties will be performed at assigned work locations. Safety equipment is required and will be provided in accordance with applicable USFS job hazard analyses. Field work includes risk of injury from falls, strains, and insect bites, and includes exposure to inclement weather.


Rangers will be paid $15/hour with an extra end of season bonus for completing their season. Trainings such as Crosscut Saw Use, Wilderness Ranger Academy, and other relevant trainings will also be provided. Rangers will have the opportunity to network with employees from both the Forest Service and San Juan Mountains Association. However, the ultimate reward of this position is the opportunity to explore and help protect some of Colorado’s wildest lands.

Summary of Essential Job Functions

  • Must be able to carry up to 50 lbs. and hike 10-15 miles per day using GPS navigation
  • Travel, backpack, and work in remote backcountry settings during 4 to 8 day trips
  • Utilize safe and low-impact backcountry travel skills
  • Maintain organized and complete records
  • Operate a data collection device to collect consistent and accurate natural resource data
  • Trailwork, tree clearing using crosscut saws, recording trail conditions
  • Public contact, visitor services, and wilderness education
  • Maintain Positive attitude while living and working in inclement weather at high elevation (8,000-13,000 ft)

Knowledge/Abilities Recommendations 

  • Prior youth corps, trail crew or ranger experience preferred
  • Demonstrated outdoor leadership experience
  • Knowledge of wilderness principles, concepts, policies, and objectives
  • Backpacking, camping, hiking experience
  • Wilderness First Aid/First Responder
  • Ability to work under arduous physical conditions
  • Knowledge of ArcGIS or other mapping software and data analysis a plus
  • Valid state-issued Driver’s License
  • Positive attitude!

About San Juan Mountains Association

Empowering visitors and locals alike to explore, learn about, and protect the public lands of Southwest Colorado.


Email resume, cover letter, and references to 

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