North Cascades Crest Runner

Pacific Crest Trail Association Published: March 20, 2024
North Cascades, WA
Skill Level
Entry Level
Job Type
Education / Other / Outreach / Advocacy
(Number of Job Posting Views: 3)

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The Pacific Crest Trail Association is an eclectic band of trail junkies who champion the needs of the Pacific Crest Trail. From across the country and the world, our team travels throughout the mountain ranges of the American West to support the much larger PCT community in protecting, preserving and promoting the trail.

We’re committed to the idea that by supporting our members, volunteers, partners and donors, we’ll succeed in safeguarding this National Scenic Trail for the benefit of future generations. We are the Pacific Crest Trail!

Position Overview

The Crest Runner serves as a key member of the PCT team, providing information and education to trail users while also collecting key visitor use data and information. The Crest Runner authentically engages with and supports trail users by providing information about the PCT and PCTA, local regulations, Leave No Trace principles, and trail conditions.  They also compile, collect, and report on visitor use data. This position participates in implementing new policies and practices to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) strategies in customer service.   
To accomplish this work, the Crest Runner will host an information table at Hart’s Pass and will also hike and backpack on the PCT primarily in the area of the Northern Terminus, with the primary goals of sharing ‘safe & responsible use’ information and collecting visitor use and permit data.   
Essential job functions and tasks are: 

  • Welcome PCT users to the PCT’s Northern Terminus to provide trail information and encourage safe & responsible use of the trail   
  • Provide trail users with information about safe and responsible trail use including campsite selection, human waste disposal, and dry camping considerations 
  • Provide information about the PCT including fire closures, snow levels, and local conditions 
  • Gather and compile visitor use data based on standard protocols  
  • Conduct voluntary permit checks to collect information related to visitor use management and distribute hang tags  
  • Work closely with PCTA staff, agency partners, and volunteers to understand visitor use management issues and strategies to reduce visitor use impact  
  • Effectively communicate visitor use management issues and strategies to local, national, and international users       
  • Day-hike and backpack along beautiful stretches of the PCT, often for multi-day trips, interacting with and providing education to trail users 

Experience and Qualifications

  • Minimum of one year of professional experience in a field that could include education, relationship building, interpretation, outdoor recreation, or other related fields 
  • Experience with backcountry travel, ideally long-distance hiking, and backpacking 
  • Experience and ability to camp self-reliantly in the backcountry 
  • Experience providing education and interacting with the public 
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and ability to effectively communicate and interact with a diverse range of people  
  • Ability to remain flexible and adapt to changing conditions in the field. A few specific considerations that may affect the duties of this position include environmental conditions such as snow conditions and wildfires, among others.   
  • Embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as a personal value 
  • Strong organizational skills 
  • Ability to work as part of a small team 
  • Ability to work independently and be self-motivated   

Physical Requirements:

  •  Ability to day-hike and backpack up to 10 miles per day on the PCT and side trails, while carrying backpacking equipment for multiple days at a time 
  • Ability to lift and carry a 25-to-30-pound backpack while walking on trail 
  • Comfortable working in front and backcountry settings, at high elevations, and in inclement weather  
  • The ability to work at a computer for several hours at a time 
  • Ability to operate a motor vehicle for multiple hours at a time 

Other Requirements: 

  • Must have a reliable high-clearance personal vehicle for travel to and from trailheads and other work locations, including regular travel on rough roads.   
  • Have or can acquire own personal camping and backpacking equipment like a shelter, sleeping bag and pad, cooking/eating kit and stove, backpack, other necessary overnight gear as necessitated by conditions  

Typical Working Conditions, Duty Stations, and Travel

The Crest Runner works from a satellite location within the region under the direct supervision of PCTA’s North Cascades Regional Representative, with support from the local agency staff and PCTA staff. Regular backcountry travel with substantial time overnight in the field is to be expected as well as weekends, possible early mornings, and some evenings. The Crest Runner is expected to communicate regularly with their PCTA supervisor between scheduled field time and as needed. PCTA will reimburse for work travel expenses from the assigned duty station to the field location. 
Equipment Used

The Crest Runner will work in a primarily field-based setting using their own backpacking equipment, and PCTA-provided field communication devices such as an InReach or agency radio.  To collect and record information, they will use tools like paper copy forms, clipboards and cell phone data collection apps.  The Crest Runner will occasionally work with a computer, electronic trail counter devices, necessary computer peripherals, and other standard office equipment.   

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed. 

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