Wilderness Dayen

The Society For Wilderness Stewardship Published: March 15, 2023
Remote, Ridgecrest, CA, California
Second Location
Gunnison, CO, CO 81230, United States of America
Skill Level
Mid Level
Job Type
GIS / Natural Resources/ Restoration / Planning / Land Use

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Society for Wilderness Stewardship

The Society for Wilderness Stewardship (SWS) is a non-profit organization seeking to promote excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship, science, and education to ensure the life-sustaining benefits of wilderness. We achieve this through the implementation of our three primary programs, Wilderness Fellows and Dayens, Wilderness Workshop and Wilderness Training.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 

The BLM is a federal agency that seeks to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Our mission is to promote clean energy, conservation, restoration, and recreation for all through land stewardship. 

What is a “Dayen”?

From the German word “Doyen” meaning an expert in a particular field, the “Dayen” position was created by SWS to bring experts in natural resources and wilderness stewardship to federal agencies to assist in the national wilderness character monitoring effort. This person will work closely with BLM employees at the state and district level to establish a wilderness character baseline for BLM managed wildernesses in Colorado and California.  Of the 260 wilderness areas, the BLM has completed somewhere around 80 baseline assessments over the past 10 years.    The Dayen will assist field units in their process to conduct baseline assessments and subsequent interval monitoring (e.g., interpreting the Implementation Guidelines, leading community of practice meetings, quality control checks on data, etc.). 

The Dayens Program’s competitive salary and benefits package attracts and retains greatly talented individuals, and provides opportunity for federal staff to engage in more managerial wilderness work.  Dayens are place-based professionals, who do not require host-provided housing.  Dayens can operate in a number of capacities, from acting as overall wilderness program coordinators to focusing on in-depth research or project work.  They work with federal staff as colleagues, and help address the backlog of wilderness work, as well as drive success in current initiatives such as America the Beautiful, the Civilian Climate Corps, Wilderness Character Monitoring, and the Wilderness Stewardship Program. 


Palm Springs, CA: We are hiring 1 person to work with the BLM in the desert district of California.  This person can be based out of Palm Springs, Ridgecrest, Barstow, or the surrounding area.  Travel to various BLM districts will be required, but the majority of work can be remote from any of these locations. 

Montrose, CO: We are looking for 2 people to fill these positions, both people can be based out of Montrose or the surrounding cities, including Grand Junction and Gunnison, CO.  Work will be on Colorado’s 5 BLM Wilderness areas and travel to various BLM districts will be required, but the majority of work can be remote from any of these locations. 

Position Overview

The Wilderness Dayen will work closely with the SWS National Program Director to support and coordinate Wilderness Character Monitoring (WCM) in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Dayen will also complete Wilderness Character Monitoring Baseline Reports for individual Wilderness areas. The Dayen may be required to travel intermittently, including to the Wilderness Fellows Training and the Wilderness Workshop.

The Wilderness Character Baseline requires that steps be made to establish a baseline that will provide the foundation for evaluating trends in wilderness character. The BLM also supports development of trend assessment reports that will be prepared on a five-year cycle for each wilderness. These trends indicate the outcome of management actions and success at ‘preserving wilderness character’ as directed by the Wilderness Act. 

As stated in Keeping It Wild 2: An Updated Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System (Landres et. al, 2015), “the results of wilderness character monitoring provide [agency staff who manage wilderness day-to-day, and regional and national staff who develop wilderness policy and assess its effectiveness] some of the key data they need to improve wilderness stewardship and wilderness policy.” The report goes on to say that, “Implementing this monitoring strategy does not guarantee the preservation of wilderness character, but it informs and improves wilderness stewardship, and ensures managers are accountable to the central mandate of the 1964 Wilderness act – to preserve wilderness character.” The BLM also supports the monitoring of ‘Lands with Wilderness Characteristics’ and ‘Wilderness Study Area’ that may be considered for federal wilderness designation in the future. 

  • Reports To: SWS National Program Director
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Location: 2 positions in Gunnison, Montrose, or Grand Junction, CO and 1 position in Palm Springs, or Ridgecrest, CA work is partially remote, with some travel to BLM wilderness areas and BLM field offices required. 
  • Duration: 1 Year
  • Expected Start Date: May 1st, 2023
  • Time: Full Time
  • Annual Salary: $42,400/year
  • Benefits: 2 weeks paid time off per year, federal holidays, $500/month health insurance reimbursement, simple IRA with 3% employer match.

Primary Wilderness Dayen Responsibilities 

  • Lead the project to produce Wilderness Character Baseline Assessments for BLM Wilderness areas. Coordinate with agency staff, partners and others, write the assessments, set overall project timelines and goals.
  • Attend a one-week Wilderness Fellow/Dayen training at Powell Ranger station, near Missoula, MT.
  • Coordinate meetings with BLM resource specialists and line officers to gather information regarding wilderness character. 
  • Research, compile, and analyze legislative and administrative historical data per wilderness area. 
  • Travel to and into wilderness areas. 
  • Compile and analyze data for selected monitoring indicators and complete a baseline assessment for wilderness character monitoring. 
  • Implement inventory and monitoring strategies for tracking wilderness character. 
  • Write a wilderness character baseline assessment for each wilderness area worked in. 
  • Participate in weekly conference calls. 
  • Set and meet benchmarks and deadlines for data collection, meetings, and draft and final reports. 

Key Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field, Master’s degree preferred. 
  • Educational background in Wilderness Management, Protected Area/Natural Resource Management, Recreation Resource Management, Conservation, Social Science, Environmental Policy, Natural, Biological and/or Physical Science. 
  • Understanding and the ability to use GIS.
  • Deep interest in wilderness/resource management and working with the federal government in land management. 
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills. 
  • Research skill and attention to detail and organization. 
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively on projects, a high degree of initiative.
  • Results-oriented with the ability to set and follow realistic goals and objectives. 
  • Flexibility to adapt when faced with changing needs and priorities. 
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, comfort with technology. 
  • Ability to travel to remote field locations (travel reimbursement provided)
  • Must have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record (documentation to be provided upon request). 

Essential Functions: Employees may be required to sit, stand, and lift objects up to 50 lbs.  Employees may be required to travel and camp in the backcountry, and to drive or fly to remote project locations. 

To Apply

Please click "Apply" below to email a cover letter, resume, 1-2 page writing sample, and 2 professional or academic references to Julia Cotter. Please include the position title and location you are applying for in the subject line of your email. 

  • Initial application review begins on Friday, February 24th, 2023. 

The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is an equal opportunity employer.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected status.

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