The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation (ABWF) is seeking two (2) Wilderness Steward Interns for summer 2021. Each steward will work with U.S. Forest Service trail crews and ABWF staff and volunteers in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. One position will be stationed in the Gardiner Ranger District in Gardiner, Montana; the other will be stationed in the Beartooth Ranger District in Red Lodge, Montana. Both will include backcountry hitches as long as 9 days at a time, requiring hikes with heavy packs as much as 12+ miles a day. Qualified candidates will (a) come with strong backcountry experience, (b) be able to do hard work for long days in rugged conditions, (c) be self-sufficient and comfortable living in a remote environment, (d) have strong communication skills, both for visitor outreach and for working with team members and supervisors, and (e) be a cheerful and positive coworker and representative of the USFS and ABWF to wilderness visitors, volunteers, and partners. The 16-week seasonal positions run from May 15-September 15, 2021.
(a) Manual labor on a variety of wilderness stewardship projects including trail maintenance, site restoration, and weed eradication.
(b) Visitor contact and outreach work including education on wilderness ethics and regulations, and collecting visitor use monitoring data.
(c) Logistical support of ABWF citizen science and volunteer engagement projects.
(d) Positively representing the USFS and ABWF to a wide variety of wilderness visitors, volunteers, and community partners.
(a) Ability to effectively and cheerfully do rigorous manual labor, outside in a high elevation, mountain environment, in weather conditions ranging from cold wet snow to hot dry sun. Backcountry hitches will require up to 9 days living and working in remote conditions with no modern facilities or conveniences.
(b) Ability to live, work, and communicate as a team member with USFS crews (5-6 trail crew professionals) and ABWF crews (6-7 volunteers plus ABWF staff). The stewards must also work cooperatively with other ABWF and USFS staff including wilderness rangers, district rangers, trail crew supervisors, and forest managers; and in some cases may need to work independently by themselves.
(c) Wilderness experience – applicants MUST have previous experience backpacking in remote environments, including experience planning, packing, and cooking for themselves on multi-day, overnight backcountry trips, navigating on and off trail, and hiking as much as 12+ miles a day in high elevation, mountain terrain. They MUST also have all of their own backpacking equipment (hiking boots, sleeping bag, tent, etc. – other equipment like trail work tools and bear spray will be provided)
(d) Ability to work with a variety of trail maintenance hand tools, including crosscut saws, pick/adze, Pulaski, rock bar, shovel, and rake.
(e) Desire to develop as a professional conservationist, gaining skills and experience for both public sector (i.e., USFS) and private sector (i.e., nonprofit groups like the ABWF) conservation work.
(f) A passion and appreciation for wilderness and its many values (recreational, cultural, ecological, economic, etc.) that they are excited to share with other wilderness visitors.
Preferred Candidates will have:
(a) Previous experience working on a trail crew.
(b) CPR, 1st Aid, and/or Wilderness First Responder certifications.
(c) Ability to commit to the entire 16-week season that ends in mid-September.
Wilderness Stewards will receive a $1,000/month tax-free stipend, shared housing at USFS bunkhouses (which include a mix of shared and individual rooms, shower facilities, and shared kitchens and living areas), and meals while out on backcountry hitches.
About the ABWF and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness:
ABWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting stewardship of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and fostering appreciation of all wild lands. We work with the U.S. Forest Service supporting ‘boots-on-the-ground’ projects including volunteer engagement, education and outreach, and collaboration with a variety of community partners. Our annual internship program is one of the best ways we can support our USFS partners while also developing a strong cohort of professional wilderness stewards.
The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness of Montana and Wyoming is a 944,000 acre wilderness area nestled against the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park. One of the largest wilderness areas in the U.S. outside Alaska, it is characterized by rugged peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation (including the highest in Montana), alpine lakes, and broad expanses of tundra-covered plateaus above treeline. A diverse flora and fauna live here in abundance–grizzly bear, lynx, mountain goats, whitebark pine, and subalpine fir. Sixty trailheads lead to over 700 miles of trails in the A-B Wilderness alone.
Gardiner (pop. 500, elev. 5,000’) and Red Lodge (pop. 2,500; elev. 5,500’) both have vibrant summer tourism economies being gateway communities to Yellowstone National Park. They are a short drive to larger cities including Bozeman (pop. 40,000, 1.5 hours from Gardiner) and Billings (pop. 125,000, 1 hour from Red Lodge).
Send (a) cover letter, (b) resume, and (c) three references to ABWF Executive Director Patrick Cross at [email protected] . Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled.