2024 Wilderness Corps Intern Program

2023 intern Kristin Larson. Photo by Trevor Meyer

Wilderness Conservation Corps Internship Description

Our Wilderness Corps trail crews do the hard work it takes to restore and maintain the most remote Forest Service trails in southwest Oregon and northwest California. They backpack into project sites and spend their days removing downed logs, cutting thick brush, and rebuilding trails lost in the most remote pockets of this region acclaimed for its biodiversity and complex natural history.

Interns commit to a term of service of varying lengths, working a rigorous schedule of eight-day-long hitches and one two-week-long hitch in July. They are led by field staff with multiple years of experience in backcountry trail work. 

2023 interns Spencer and Eleanor crosscut a large tree
Crew members get mixed-and-matched to fit projects, but off-trail activities are spent as a group. Required off-trail activities include things such as:
  • Whitewater rafting trips
  • Visit to Crater Lake National Park with their staff
  • Experience the South Slough Estuarine Reserve
  • Visits at California’s Redwood National and State Park
  • Program by Forest Service archaeologist
  • Classroom training activities to gain nationally-recognized qualifications

    The Wilderness Corps is an intense and immersive experience. Interns participate in an online onboarding process leading up to their term, then track personal and professional goals with support from our staff. Interns participate in regular reviews and receive feedback that inspires progress and growth. Project locations are predetermined but can change depending on conditions. Each crew member must complete our approximately 15-hour online curriculum before their term starts.

    2023 interns marching in Ashland, Oregon's popular 4th of July Parade

    Terms, Pay & Housing

    In 2024, we have two start dates and multiple end-dates. The pay is a $1,500 monthly educational stipend that is paid biweekly, as well as an educational award upon completing your term. Partial months are pro-rated.

    Interns who start on June 2 have the option of four end dates. Interns who start June 26 are limited to an August 19 or August 31 end date. 

    Start Dates

    End Date

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    Max Award

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    On off-trail days, interns stay at a blend of campgrounds and hostels in Ashland, OR. Campgrounds include shower and laundry and we accommodate transportation into town with shops, restaurants, library, Club offices, and other amenities. Crew members always have the first and last of their off-trail days to recoup and prepare. Other days are programmed with required activities.

    Academic Credit 

    SMC provides documentation, evaluation, and other items needed for interns to gain academic credit from the college they are enrolled in.


    Projects occur throughout Southwest Oregon and Northwest California. Our home base for off-trail days is Ashland, OR., though we may venture out for some off-trail activities. 

    Over the course of the season living, working, and playing together, interns form strong bonds. Photo by Trevor Meyer

    Educational activities, curricular requirements and off-trail days.

    Complete (approximately) 15-hour online curriculum that includes Core Competency of the Wilderness Act, Leave No Trace, and background on trail work. Maintain daily journal and photo entries during backcountry hitches and participate in group activities on days off. Produce final portfolio of work. We schedule required off-trail activities for the 2nd and 3rd days so interns have time to rest on the 1st day and prepare on the 4th.


    We provide comprehensive curricular and field training with an emphasis on the individual’s personal growth and professional development. 

    • Basic backcountry trails skills. Interns will be able to brush, tread, and remove trees from a trail prism to meet universal trail standards
    • Interpersonal communication skills in small group settings.
    • Backpacking and wilderness survival. Interns will grow the skills to be self-reliant in the backcountry, plan their own trips, and work and live in remote wilderness settings
    • Credentials: Interns earn certificates issues by the University of Montana’s Arthur Carhart Wilderness Institute, the Center for Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, U.S. Forest Service, and Siskiyou Mountain Club
    • First Aid and CPR, Leave No Trace, and USFS crosscut saw certification, pending eligibility
    • Certificate of public service recognized by the National Corps Network, Federal Employers, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. 

      Duties and Responsibilities

      Lucy was a 2022 intern who promoted to Assistant Crew Leader for 2023

      Field Work

      • Participate in backcountry work projects that require backpacking into project sites
      • Use of hand tools. Your days will be spent using long-armed loppers, pruning saws, crosscut saws, Pulaskis, and moving large materials
      • Produce work quality that meets SMC’s trail standards


        • Strong interpersonal communication
        • Actively participate in briefings, debriefings, group activities
        • Relay information as needed
        • Ability to follow verbal and written directions

          Curricular and enrichment activities

          • Complete online training in timelines provided
          • Work with SMC managers to develop season goals and benchmarks
          • Draft daily journal entries
          • Participate in required activities during off-trail days
          • Produce final portfolio of work (optional)
          • Other duties as assigned
            Program manager Karly White. Photo by 2022 intern Vincent DiFrancesco

            Required Skills and Experience

            • Must be 18 or over by start date
            • All arrivals complete a physical test before backpacking into the field
            • Ability to perform strenuous activity, including the ability to carry 60 pounds for 10 miles across rough terrain.
            • Must be able to work long hours with heavy tools on uneven terrain. Requires lifting, moving, and scooting large materials such as logs and rocks
            • Strong verbal communication
            • Punctuality and endurance
            • Ability to follow multi-step directions
            • Effective at working independently and as a strong team member
            • Motivated and self-disciplined
            • Must acquire basic lightweight backpacking gear
            • The use of tobacco, cigarettes, vape, smokeless or otherwise, is prohibited
            • Electronic devices including cell phones, tablets, iPods, smart watches and mp3 players are prohibited for on-trail days

              Application Process
              Apply here. We are accepting applications until all positions are filled. There is no application deadline. We take applicants through a screening process with two interviews. If after reading through this page thoroughly, you have questions, please call 458-254-0657 or email info@siskiyoumountainclub.org.

              Siskiyou Mountain Club is an equal opportunity employer, and we place high value on diversity throughout our organization. Read more about our strong position on civil rights and social justice here. All aspects of employment including the decision to hire, promote, discipline, or discharge, will be based on merit, competence, performance, and business needs. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state, or local law.

              Crews backpack into remote project sites where they stay in the wilderness for up to two weeks

              2024 Tentative Schedule

              June 2 – August 30, Corps crews participate in the schedule below. Activities on off-trail days include whitewater rafting, luncheons, communication and leadership training, a resume workshop, and other required group activities. Details for projects and activities are still being determined.

              June 2 – 9: On Trail
              The first arrivals onboard & head out for a training hitch

              June 10 – 13: Off Trail

              June 14 – 21: On Trail
              Early in the season, we aim to work on projects lower in elevation that will be hottest later in the summer.

              June 22 – 25: Off Trail

              June 26 – July 3: On Trail
              Early and new arrivals join together and participate in First Aid/CPR training. Early arrivals then head out on a hitch while new arrivals onboard.

              July 4 – 7: Off Trail
              Celebrate Independence Day with the community.

              July 9 – 22:  On Trail
              This is a precipice of the season with all hands on deck for a 14-day hitch on a multi-year project.

              July 23 – 29: Off trail
              Enjoy more days off after the long hitch. 

              July 30 – August 6: On Trail

              August 7 – 10: Off trail

              August 11 – 18: On Trail

              August 19 – 22: Off Trail

              August 23 – 30: Last hitch

              August 31: End of year celebrations
              Cap off the season

              There may be potential to participate in our shoulder season program where we promote interns into temporary staff positions to finish out the season in style. Email alex@siskiyoumountainclub.org for details or inquire during application process.

              About Siskiyou Mountain Club

              We are a small nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving trails in the backcountry of Southwest Oregon and Northwest California. Our trail crews have saved hundreds of trail miles from being lost, and we have adopted approximately 400 miles of trails in the most remote reaches in this region known for its vast expanse of public lands.

              We are an equal opportunity employer and place high value on diversity throughout our organization. Please read more about our policies on civil rights and social justice here.