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!
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. These "jobs" do not come with a salary, but they provide their own reward of accomplishment and satisfaction!
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 contact the Vice President for Volunteerism at firstname.lastname@example.org
. 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 home repairs. They visit their cabins four to six times a year. Maintainers work under the direction of regional supervisors. Cabin maintenance volunteer vacancies do not arise frequently. More about cabin jobs
- Cabin Maintenance:
Club volunteers build and renovate cabins. This important work is performed by skilled people who work with Cabin Construction committee. This committee does not have frequent vacancies. For more information about the committee: More about cabin construction
- 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. Those who perform routine maintenance work with the appropriate trail district manager. Major construction tasks are managed by the Shelters Committee Chair. The shelters committee is always looking for volunteers with stonemason and similar skills.
- Outreach: Our outreach program represents the club to the public. There are several aspects to this. Currently, we are looking for Trail Talkers both virtual and in person. Trail talkers give public presentations about hiking, trails, and other outdoor subjects in our area. Virtual trail talkers do that online. Outreach is also looking for new hike leaders who can lead a hike and share a special talent like photography, geology, botany, or, history. Those interested in any of these jobs should contact the Supervisor of Outreach.
- Land Stewardship: The club owns and otherwise has responsibility for land that must be managed and cared for. A Land Manager is assigned as a steward of a tract of PATC-owned land. Managers are particularly needed for the Tuscarora Trail and the Tuscarora Trail corridor. Volunteers are also needed to help to identify lands that the club should acquire or dispose. It is helpful if these volunteers have experience in real estate and the willingness to visit tracts and parcels for possible acquisition or deaccession. Those interested in helping with the stewardship of the club's lands should contact the Supervisor of Lands.
- Natural Resources: Natural resource volunteers are involved in a variety of activities that preserve and protect the native landscapes surrounding our trails. Among the activities are rare plant inventory and monitoring, invasive species monitoring and control, and native landscape restoration. Training opportunities and workshops are scheduled periodically throughout the year. For more information, contact the Natural Resource Advisor.
- Trail Patrol: The Trail Patrol performs important club functions relating to safety on the trails, education, and training. It is responsible for many important areas including first aid training, Leave No Trace, and the Ridgerunner program. The Trail Patrol trains its own members, who are required to have first aid certification. Those interested should contact the chair of the Trail Patrol.
- GPS Rangers: This job entails taking a free two-day training class, then carrying a GPS, camera, and notepad, collecting accurate line and point data, taking photographs, and writing notes on all features on trails and gated roads. Then the data is collected, a report is written. It does not require any prior GPS experience. If interested, contact the GPS Rangers Chair.
- Headquarters Support: 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.
- 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. Vacancies come up sporadically. For more information contact the PA editor.
- Management and Support: The club has 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.
- Skills required: Most jobs require skills. 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 skills. 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.