Organizational Mission:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Primary Purpose

A highly qualified seasonal Trail Crew leader is recruited each year to lead the S.W.E.A.T. and Rocky Top Crews based out of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Crews will complete routine trail maintenance (drainage clearing and brushing) during the S.W.E.A.T. Crew season (May to August) and major repair/rehabilitation projects during the Rocky Top Crew season (August to October). The S.W.E.A.T. Crew is an ATC professional crew, while the Rocky Top Crew is volunteer-based. The Trail Crew Leader is an integral part of each crew’s success in both seasons, as they will manage the crews, train and supervise crew member volunteers and staff to complete high-quality work, ensure the crew is operating safely both in camp and on the worksite, and respond to emergency situations. Applicants must demonstrate responsibility, initiative, effective communication skills, and self-motivation. They must be able to work both independently with minimal supervision and cooperatively as a member of a team.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Implement Trail construction, reconstruction, and maintenance projects in cooperation with A.T clubs and partner agencies.
  • Ensure volunteer and/or staff trail crew members are trained in and implement best practices in Trail design, construction, reconstruction, and maintenance according to ATC standards.
  • Ensure safe and sanitary conditions at the camps and work sites, transport crews safely, and respond appropriately to any emergency situations that may arise.
  • Promote an atmosphere in which all crew members feel welcomed, motivated, safe, and included, and where participation and contributions from all are valued and appreciated.
  • Follow the direction of designated supervisors with respect to duties, logistics, timetables, and projects; submit biweekly timesheets, weekly hour and project reports, process and submit photos and crew narratives, and perform other administrative duties as assigned.
  • Ensure purchases of food, supplies, gear, and materials follow ATC’s financial controls and that expenses stay within the weekly crew budget.
  • Travel on foot over rough terrain and for long distances while carrying equipment in possible inclement weather.


  • One season of experience in building/rebuilding trail.
  • Applicant must specifically have experience with log step installation or cribbing, improving drainages, addressing trail erosion, etc.
  • One season of crew leadership.
  • Two or more seasons of backcountry camping or working outdoors.
  • Ability to manage and be responsible for all aspects of a trail crew.
  • Experience in working with volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels.
  • In good mental and physical health
  • Must be able to hike up to 10 miles per day in steep, mountainous terrain
  • Ability to carry personal/group work and camping gear to backcountry projects.
  • Experience recreating or working in inclement weather
  • Valid driver’s license, with excellent driving record
  • Experience driving heavy-duty trucks, passenger vans on interstates and gated USFS roads
  • Ability to manage and provide a safe working environment at all times
  • Competent working without direct supervision
  • Willingness to participate in additional required training – USFS crosscut saw certification, safe driving, etc.

Pay and Benefits

  • Crew leaders: $17-20 per hour.
  • Housing options will be provided.
  • Cell phone bill stipend is provided.


Position Dates

  • S.W.E.A.T Crew season: May 15 to August 18. 
  • Rocky Top Crew season: August 18 to October 30. 
  • Preference will be given to applicants who can lead both seasons. 

To Apply

Please click the button below to apply through our ADP application portal.

Click here to apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload an updated resume and answers to the specific application questions. We may request you to provide up to three references throughout the recruitment process.

Questions about this position can be emailed to Rachel Cheatham, ATC Regional Manager – Smokies & North Carolina, at [email protected].

Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.

ATC Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness with all employees and volunteers to enable participation and contributions to their fullest potential.

We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization and recognize that diversity contributes to an effective and successful organizational culture and mission.

The ATC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and/or expression), national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, political affiliation, union membership, or any other status protected by the laws and regulations in the locations where we operate.

Click here to view the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Identity Statement