American Conservation Experience - Member
  • National Park Service
  • Middlesboro, KY, USA
  • Internship
  • EPIC

Summary:  American Conservation Experience, a Non-Profit Conservation Corps, in partnership with Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is seeking ONE Trail Maintenance Intern interested in dedicating 26-weeks in support of the National Park Service.  The Trail Maintenance Interns will support CUGA in improving trail conditions and replacing trail signs. This excellent opportunity is ideal for an enthusiastic young professional who is deeply committed to the preservation of our National Parks.


Start Date: April 2018 (flexible for the right candidate)

End Date: 26 weeks from start date

*A 26-week commitment is required*


Location:  The internship is at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (CUGA), which is located at the corners of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.  The Park contains 24,000 acres of which 14,000 acres are proposed wilderness. The natural beauty of Appalachian mountain country, lush with vegetation, supports a diverse flora and fauna.  CUGA has 70 miles of hiking trails, mountains, streams, and caves.


Middlesboro, Kentucky is the nearest town and is large enough to accommodate three grocery stores, fast food, several restaurants, and a movie theater.  Knoxville, Tennessee is approximately 1.5 hours away and has many amenities of a large city.


Project Partner Website:  For more information regarding Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, or the National Park Service, please visit: For more information about the American Conservation Experience, please visit:


Compensation:  The ACE intern will serve for 40 hours/week and receive a living allowance of either $350/week with NPS housing provided or $425/week with no housing provided. This is up to the intern and depends on if NPS housing is available at the time of hire.


Position Description:  Two ACE interns will serve with and learn from National Park Service (NPS) employees as they support sign and trail maintenance at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (CUGA). Many trail signs at CUGA are in need of replacement.  Trail sign projects will include assisting CUGA with replacement of over 115 trail signs throughout the entire trail system.  These signs are located both in the back country (recommended wilderness) and the front country. 

Projects will include:

  • Hauling new posts and signs to each location, replacement of each, digging new post holes, and hauling of old materials back to the maintenance area. Hauling of posts and signs to back country may include use of a horse(s).
  • General maintenance tasks on several trails within and outside of CUGA's recommended wilderness.
  • The transport; distribution and compaction of tread materials onto areas of eroded trail surface.
  • Installation and cleaning of water bars and grade dips/swales using hand tools (mattock, hoe, shovel, cross cut saw, ax, etc.).
  • Removal of encroaching vegetation and if necessary trail blockages like boulders or downed trees using hand tools.
  • Building retaining walls.
  • Other equipment used (outside the recommended wilderness) may include UTVs, weed trimmers, back pack leaf blowers, and cordless drills.


Qualifications:  Applicants for the position must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and/or experience in natural resource management, botany, environmental science, ecology, environmental science, biological sciences, park management, forestry, or a related discipline. A combination of relevant education and appropriate experience is also acceptable.


  • US Citizens and Permanent Residents only.
  • Intern must be 18-35 years of age.
  • A valid driver's license and a clean driving record are required (documentation to be provided upon request). A personal vehicle is required for the duration of the internship.
  • Must be willing and able to perform the above field projects, including backcountry camping.
  • Must be physically fit and able to backpack to backcountry campsites
  • Intern will be required to hike up to 12 miles per day while carrying up to 40 pounds of gear on uneven and steep terrain, on and off trail, in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Must be able to serve in small a group setting, performing difficult duties, while keeping a positive attitude.
  • Interns must be comfortable serving in recommended wilderness using only primitive tools (including shovel, mattock, hoe, cross cut saw, ax, etc.).
  • Projects outside the recommended wilderness may require use of UTVs, weed trimmers, back pack leaf blowers and cordless drills.


  • Experience handling/riding horses.
  • Ability to communicate clearly with peer professionals and volunteers.
  • Ability to serve independently in remote areas.
  • Strong desire to enter the public service field.

The intern must be willing to represent ACE and the NPS in a professional, positive and enthusiastic manner.  Drug users should not consider applying, as ACE and the NPS reserves the right to require drug testing.


To Apply: Please submit a thoughtful resume and cover letter along with 3 professional references using the APPLY NOW section located on the upper right hand corner of the position listing on our website here:


NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received.  If you have additional questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact the ACE EPIC NPS Recruitment Specialist, Zoe Moskwa at

American Conservation Experience - Member
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