Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards

Field Crew Leader/ Assistant Field Crew Leader

Posted: January 05, 2021
Location: Asheville, NC and Roanoke, VA
Time Commitment: April 1 to mid-August or October 2021


Asheville Location:

Normally, the Field Crew Leader and Assistant Leader would lead a crew of six, comprised of the Field Crew Leader, an Assistant Field Crew Leader, and four Field Crew Members. The field crew leadership team will go through 8 weeks of pre-season training (described below) followed by 10-18 weeks working on multiday backcountry field projects for up to ten days at a time.

​For the 2020 and 2021 field seasons, we’ve shifted our crew model to keep our employees and the communities we serve safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Crews will be comprised of three individuals: a Field Crew Leader, an Assistant Field Crew Leader, and a Field Crew Member.

Roanoke Location:

The Field Crew Leader and Assistant Leader will run a crew comprised of 4-5 volunteer midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, the premier college for aspiring officers in the US Navy. The field crew leadership team will go through 8 weeks pre-season training (described below) and then 10 weeks working on multiday backcountry field projects for up to ten days at a time.

For the 2021 field season, we will shift our Naval Academy crew model to keep our employees, the midshipmen and the communities we serve safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Job Responsibilites

The pre-season training for the leadership team consists of:

  • Orientation
  • Crosscut saw certification
  • Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification
  • Trail building and maintenance instruction
  • Leadership skill development
  • Backcountry camp and hygiene procedures
  • Organizational policies and procedures
  • Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity training and ongoing discussions
  • Project Scouting
  • Wilderness Skills Institute attendance and instruction experience​

Once the season starts, all Field Crews may address projects including, but not limited to:

  • Trail relocations
  • Erosion control (installation of water bars, grade dips, log or stone steps, etc.)
  • Reestablishing trail surface
  • Brushing trail corridors and removing downed trees
  • Non-native and invasive species removal
  • Public education (Leave No Trace, bear safety and awareness, Wilderness education, etc.)
  • Boundary marking
  • Campsite impact mitigation

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Complete field crew leader training
  • Adjust plans and decisions as the season, work week or day unfolds
  • Lead, supervise and inspire crew members to effectively complete critical backcountry stewardship projects
  • Communicate directions, project specifications and constructive criticism throughout the season
  • Teach leadership skills and facilitate leadership opportunities for crew members
  • Maintain tools and equipment
  • Assist SAWS staff in developing and maintaining strong, positive relationships with US Forest Service personnel, partner organization staff and volunteers
  • Track project progress daily and accurately report completed work at the end of each project
  • Craft and curate media (blogs, photography, video, etc.) to share for reporting and documentation
  • Follow and implement SAWS organizational policies in the field
  • Maintain high standards for project completion
  • Maintain an inclusive, safe, positive, and fun working environment

Required Qualifications

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

  • Ability to travel on foot over rough terrain for up to 10 miles per day while carrying 60 lbs or more
  • Ability to live and work in a remote and primitive setting with diverse groups of people
  • Desire to be a member of a 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.

Salary and Benefits

Crew leaders and assistant crew leaders will receive the following additional benefits: Crosscut saw certification | Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification | Food stipend is provided ($9/day) | May qualify for Public Land Service Corp (PLC) hiring authority | Opportunities for professional network growth | Sick time accrual | Opportunities for pro-rated gear deals

Application Process

Please fill out the application and submit a cover letter and resume below. Questions regarding the application may be submitted via email to Eric Giebelstein, Regional Director at [email protected]

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.