Job Type: Temporary
Salary Details: $19.00- $21.00 per hour DOE

JOB SUMMARY: Do you love backpacking and excel in managing a team on projects in the backcountry? The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) Wilderness Stewardship Crew operates as a team in rugged, remote, and beautiful backcountry wilderness areas in Southwest Colorado. The Wilderness Stewardship Crew is made possible through partnership with the Rio Grande National Forest. This position entails leading and managing a 3 person crew to complete a variety of projects requiring backpacking long distances with tools and equipment to high elevation wilderness areas. Projects include a mix of intensive trail clearing (log-out) with cross cut saws, public education and engagement. The Crew Leader, under the direct supervision of the Stewardship Program Manager, is responsible for communication and coordination with SJMA and USFS staff to plan and implement projects, as well as ensuring the safety and productivity of the team. 

LOCATION: SJMA is housed in the San Juan Public Lands Center In Durango, Colorado, and this position will be primarily field based. Work is performed in remote backcountry locations (i.e. Weminuche Wilderness) for multiple days at a time. 

HOURS and SEASON: This is a seasonal full time, 40 hours per week position (non- exempt, full-time), for 14 weeks from mid May to mid August. The Crew Leader will start in early to mid May to assist with a 2 week field crew training. Following training, SJMA’s field season runs from early June – mid August and will generally follow a four-days on, three-days off work schedule, with crews working 10 hour days, camping in backcountry areas. A limited number of eight- day hitches may be required to access remote project locations. 

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Crew Leaders are responsible for implementing all aspects of SJMA’s three-person Wilderness Stewardship Crew project season, including: 

  • Coordinate with SJMA and USFS staff to implement projects. 
  • Complete and oversee wilderness characteristic monitoring activities and data collection. 
  • Ensure crew safety through effective OTJ mentorship, Emergency Response Planning
  • Enforce safety protocols and Personal Protective Equipment 
  • Crew goal setting and accomplishment tracking. 
  • Improve trail access in wilderness areas through log removal with crosscut saws, axes
  • Mentor crew in visitor engagement to increase public knowledge of Leave No Trace, wilderness etiquette, and safety. 
  • Navigate to backcountry worksites and campsites via backpacking 
  • Positively promote the crew experience to ensure effective team performance during potentially stressful and difficult conditions.


  • Demonstrated leadership of team-based outdoor experiences 
  • Extensive backpacking and backcountry camping experience is a must. 
  • Physical fitness- ability to lift and carry 50-75lb, and backpack up to 12 miles/ day
  • Demonstrated project management and OTJ training of others 
  • Strong interpersonal skills 
  • Composure to manage others during strenuous physical activity in all types of weather and at high elevations. 
  • Knowledge of wilderness principles, concepts and policies 
  • Map and compass, backcountry navigation, and travel 
  • Tool use and safety (crosscut saw experience/certification a plus) 
  • Effective public speaking and public engagement, including mentoring others
  • Data collection, compilation, and reporting 
  • Valid driver’s license, clean driving record, reliable transportation 


  • $19.00- $21.00 per hour DOE 
  • Mileage reimbursement for personal vehicle use to work sites 
  • Uniform, rain jacket, and gear stipend 
  • Training- Wilderness First Aid, Crosscut Saw, Leave No Trace. 
  • End-of-season bonus awarded to crew leaders who complete a full field season
  • SJMA offers a Simple IRA plan with a 3% match, and 1 hour of sick time per 30 hours worked, per Colorado law. 

Email a cover letter and resume in one pdf file with title ”Crew Leader Application” to  as soon as possible.