How to Volunteer
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club plays a critical role in outdoor recreation in our region. You can be part of that. PATC volunteers have the pride and satisfaction of contributing to the club’s important work for the community. There are many interesting and rewarding jobs--including one for you!
This page is for those who want the facts to help them decide. If you want to cut to the chase, go to the volunteer registration form.
Not all jobs are appropriate for all people. They vary in physical exertion, skills needed, location, frequency, etc. Be sure you have the right fit.
Volunteer jobs categories: Trails | Cabins | Shelters | Headquarters Support | Potomac Appalachian | Management and Support
For More Information and to Volunteer
Review the jobs available and identify those that meet your desires and qualifications. There is a contact or webpage listed for each category of job. Contact that person or go to the linkfor information and see if the job is right for you. You can also just fill out the Volunteer Registration form
or contact the Vice President for Volunteerism at email@example.com
. We are eager to help you find a fun and satisfying job.
These are the major categories of jobs. There are others.
- Trails: Trail maintenance is the primary objective of the club. The club maintains over 1,000 miles of trail. These trails are broken into sections with a “maintainer” assigned to each. Sections vary greatly in length, location, and difficulty. A maintainer develops a close relationship with his or her trail and has the pride of keeping it in great shape for the public. Maintainers are expected to visit their trail sections several times a year. Maintainers are under the guidance of district managers who are responsible for all trails in a region. The club also has trail crews that address particular jobs and are not usually tied to a particular trail such as building a bridge or altering a route. Trail Maintenance Volunteer Information
- Cabins: Each of the PATC’s cabins has a maintainer who is responsible for its care and routine maintenance. Maintainers need the skills to make simple home repairs. They visit their cabins several times a year. Maintainers work under the direction of regional supervisors. More about cabin jobs
- Shelters: These are three-sided structures on the Appalachian and Tuscarora trails for the overnight use of hikers. Shelter volunteers keep these shelters clean and repaired. They also participate in construction tasks. More about shelter jobs, contact the Shelters Committee Chair or fill out the Volunteer Registration form.
- Headquarters Support: Headquarters is closed because of the COVID virus. Volunteers do not currently work there. When they return, there are several important jobs at PATC headquarters in Vienna, Virginia. These jobs include the sales/information desk (answering questions from the public and selling books and maps), the cabins desk (assisting cabin renters), marketing (fulfilling online sales of books, maps, etc.), archives work, and other general assistance. Most of these jobs require basic office skills and knowledge of the club and the trails it maintains. For more information, contact the VP for Volunteerism or fill out the Volunteer Registration Form.
- The Potomac Appalachian Newsletter: The club’s newsletter is produced by volunteers. There are jobs for editors, writers, reporters, proofreaders, etc. The PA is published each month, though volunteers usually share the load so that all don’t have to work each month. These jobs require significant verbal, editing, and publishing skills. For more information contact the PA editor.
- Management and Support: The club does have a very capable professional (paid) staff, but much of the work needs to be done by volunteers. Volunteers assist in all aspects of the club – publications and maps, conservation and advocacy, training, information technology, lands and corridor monitoring, etc. Jobs tend to become available more sporadically. For more information, contact the responsible committee chair or club officer, the VP for Volunteerism.
- Location: The club’s broad geographical reach means that there should be a job near you. Trail overseer jobs are located many places. Some jobs, however, can be performed only one place. Headquarters work is an example of that. A few jobs can be accomplished remotely. While you can probably work close to home, a long drive will often lead to a rewarding job in a scenic location.
- Physical work: Many jobs require hard physical work. Trail overseers often hike a great distance to their trail sections and then do hard work. On the other hand, there are indoor, desk jobs.
- Skill required: Most jobs require skill. In many cases, we will provide training. But several jobs require basic skills that volunteers need before they show up. For example, many workers at Headquarters need basic computer skill. Cabin overseers need basic carpentry and repair skills.
Hawksbill Award winners from 2019
The Hawksbill Award goes to the top volunteer in each work group.