American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
  • US Forest Service
  • Sacramento, CA, USA
  • Fellowship
  • EPIC

American Conservation Experience

USFS Wilderness Specialist

Resource Assistants Program


United States Forest Service Resource Assistants Program (RAP) is a rigorous and immersive, paid internship for individuals interested in Forest Service careers. Resource Assistants work under the supervision of Forest Service staff to complete mission-critical work that demonstrates leadership, critical thinking, and strategic communication. Through collaboration, training, and mentorship, resource assistants gain the tools to launch their natural and cultural resource careers.

RAP seeks to engage highly motivated candidates through these program objectives:

  • Instill stewardship values in the next generation of natural and cultural resource management professionals;
  • Expand and enhance the capacity of the Forest Service to accomplish mission-critical work and high-priority projects;
  • Attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce to support the Forest Service's mission to "sustain the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations."


American Conservation Experience (ACE), a Non-Profit Conservation Corps based in Flagstaff, Arizona, in partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS) Eldorado National Forest, is seeking a Wilderness Specialist. This opportunity is intended for an enthusiastic professional with a well-developed working background in conservation, natural resources management, wilderness management, recreation management, or a similar field. The Wilderness Specialist should possess a passion for public land management and a professional interest in advancing their career towards natural resource management, policy, natural resources management and/or wilderness.


Start Date: ASAP 2019

End Date: 26 weeks after start

Location: Eldorado National Forest Pacific Ranger Districts

The Eldorado National Forest is located in the central Sierra Nevada region within California and encompasses a total of 798,279 acres, which includes 193,027 acres of private ownership.

The Eldorado National Forest is bordered on the north by the Tahoe National Forest, on the east by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Humboldt-Toiyabe, and to the south by the Stanislaus National Forest. The Eldorado is within 3 - 4 hours of the San Francisco Bay Area and about 1 - 1 1/2 hours from Sacramento. It ranges in elevation from 1,000 feet in the foothills to more than 10,000 feet above sea level along the Sierra crest. The mountainous topography is broken by the steep canyons of the Mokelumne, Cosumnes, American, and Rubicon rivers. Plateaus of generally moderate relief are located between these steep canyons.

The forest is also home to 297 lakes and reservoirs (including both public and private acreage), which total 11,994 surface acres. 11 large reservoirs account for 9,000 acres. The rest are mostly small, high mountain lakes. Both the rivers and lakes provide exceptional fishing opportunities. The Eldorado National Forest provides diverse recreational opportunities to the public. The Forest offers every visitor the chance to enjoy nature and be outdoors. In addition to two popular wilderness areas (Desolation Wilderness and Mokelumne Wilderness), the forest offers more than 70-day use and overnight developed recreation facilities across the forest for the individual, families and groups.

Project Partner Websites:

For more information regarding Eldorado National Forest, please Visit:

For more information on ACE, please visit:  


  • $800/wk Living Allowance. Typical work week will be 40 hrs at 8-10 hours/day, 4-5 days/week. The Participant should expect to potentially work weekends and holidays.
  • Professional Development allowance
  • Relocation allowance
  • Health Insurance Stipend
  • Opportunities to network with U.S. Forest Service field rangers and professionals.
  • RAP Merit Hiring Authority: After completing and meeting program requirements, interns may become eligible for the RAP merit hiring authority through a 2-year certificate of eligibility.

Housing: Provided by the USFS.


Position Description

The US Forest Service, Eldorado National Forest, has need for the following critical work activities to be completed by qualified on-site personnel. Work on this project requires a wilderness management background and expertise and experience with various skills unique to a fieldwork setting.

Specific Tasks Include: 

  • Assist the Forest Service in designing, planning and monitoring construction of trails, parking areas, trailhead facilities and other associated facilities for Desolation Wilderness. Coordinates implementation of trail work.
  • Monitoring will include campsite inventory, solitude or group encounter or other efforts.
  • Lead wilderness volunteer coordinator.
  • Work with wilderness staff and volunteers to schedule/perform monitoring site visits based on established protocols and input the new information into an existing database.
  • Work with wilderness staff to analyze the existing data and develop recommendations based on the Desolation Wilderness Management Plan and Wilderness Stewardship Performance measures.
  • Candidates should be skilled in the Microsoft Office Access database application, mobile survey applications, and GIS/GPS and have strong organizational skills.
  • Should be comfortable backpacking and camping in the backcountry and skilled at orienteering using map & compass, as well as GPS.
  • May also assist with outreach/education or trail work.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Applicants for this position should be resourceful individuals with education and/or field experience working in a Wilderness Management capacity. This position requires the balancing of critical analysis with technical field expertise, along with the ability to work directly with the public in sometimes difficult scenarios.


  • The opportunity is available to US Citizens and Green Card holders only.
  • Must have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record (documentation to be provided upon request). Must be willing to submit to a driving record check.
  • Must be 21 years or older in order to drive an agency work vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is highly suggested for off-days during the opportunity.
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with resource professionals.
  • The selected candidate is required to pass a federal criminal background check prior to beginning employment.
  • Must have strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Must be able to take initiative and work independently, as well as participate effectively in collaborative efforts.
  • Ability to hike and backpack in a wilderness or backcountry setting.
  • Comfortable with GPS (using to locate campsites to inventory) and GIS data entry for analysis.
  • Applicant must have personal vehicle for work-related travel.
  • Proficient in English.
  • Must be comfortable in various indoor and outdoor work environments, and in sometimes adverse weather conditions.
  • Work required walking and climbing in steep, uneven terrain, performing physical labor, bending, lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds or more.
  • Public contacts are to educate visitors in recreation management and law enforcement objectives and policies, to obtain compliance with laws/regulations, to resolve problems, and to provide assistance to forest visitors. Contacts will include dealing with some persons and/or groups that may be uncooperative, hostile and who have different viewpoints.


The member must be willing to represent ACE and the USFS in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.  

**This position is subject to change/close at any time**

To Apply: 

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


Early consideration will be given as applications are received. If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact the ACE USFS Recruitment Specialist Celia Demers at

American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics.  In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
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