US Naval Academy Trail Crew Leadership Positions–Roanoke, VA

Position Post Date: December 19, 2018

Join our team: Do you have a strong work ethic and a desire to help protect and care for your public lands? Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is hiring for the following seasonal positions.

Position Title: US Naval Academy Trail Crew Leader/ Assistant Trail Crew Leader

Position Duration: April 9 to August 16, 2019, with a possibility to extend into early September

Status: Temporary/Seasonal

Compensation: $14.50/hr-Assistant Trail Crew Leader

$15.00/hr- Trail Crew Leader

Position Supervisor: Roanoke Regional Program Manager

Location: Roanoke, VA


About Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS)

We are a passionate and versatile team of employees, volunteers, and supporters, dedicated to a mission of educating, cultivating, and empowering an engaged public for the stewardship of protected public lands. We pride ourselves on being a transformative conservation non-profit: for the resource, the individuals who work with us, federal land management agencies, and our local partners. SAWS was founded in 2010 to respond to a regional need for stewardship focused on federally designated wilderness. We work with the national forests in the mountain regions of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia to provide stewardship through our four program areas: trail crews, wilderness rangers, volunteers, and education.


Position Summary

The US Naval Academy Trail Crew Leader and Assistant Leader will lead a crew comprised of 4-5 volunteer midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, the premier college for aspiring officers in the US Navy. Crew leaders will lead three different groups of midshipmen throughout the summer. Crew Leaders will complete 7 weeks of orientation and hands-on training, followed by 12 weeks working on multiday backcountry field projects for up to ten days at a time in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests in Virginia. The Naval Academy trail crew may address projects including, but not limited to:

  • Trail relocations
  • Erosion control (installation of water bars, grade dips, log or stone steps, etc.)
  • Mitigating campsite impacts
  • Reestablishing trail tread
  • Brushing trail corridors and removing downed trees
  • Public education (Leave No Trace, bear safety and awareness, Wilderness education, etc.)


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Complete trail crew leader training, including trail construction, trail maintenance, Wilderness Medicine Training, crosscut saw, backcountry camp set up and procedures, Leave No Trace ethics, and backpacking skills
  • The ability to be flexible and adjust plans and decisions as the season, work week or day unfolds
  • Lead and inspire midshipmen to effectively complete critical backcountry stewardship projects
  • Teach leadership skills and facilitate leadership opportunities for midshipmen
  • Maintain tools and equipment
  • Ability to communicate directions, project specifications and constructive criticism throughout the season.
  • Assist SAWS staff in developing and maintaining strong, positive, professional relationships with US Forest Service personnel, partner organization staff, and partner organization volunteers
  • Track project progress daily and provide accurate reporting and media after each project to share with agency and funding partners
  • Craft and curate media (blogs, photography, video, etc.) to share for reporting and documentation
  • Follow and implement SAWS organizational policies in the field
  • Maintain an inclusive, safe, positive, and fun working environment
  • Maintain high standard levels for project completion



In addition to enthusiasm for the SAWS mission, you will have the following:

  • Ability to travel on foot over rough terrain for up to 5 miles per day while carrying 60 lbs or more
  • Ability to do difficult, manual labor in a remote and primitive setting with diverse groups of people
  • Desire to be a member of an enthusiastic, hard-working team and transformative non-profit organization
  • Six to nine months of backcountry trail work experience
  • Crew Leader applicants need at least three months of leadership experience in a backcountry, field-based position


To Apply

Please apply on the form below.

Questions regarding the application may be submitted via email to Eric Giebelstein, Program Manager at


Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.


SAWS is an equal opportunity employer and provides a drug-free workplace. SAWS values an inclusive work environment, free from discrimination of any kind.




2018 Employment Application

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