Wilderness Monitoring Ranger

Society for Wilderness Stewardship Published: January 28, 2020
Leadville, Colorado
Job Type
Natural Resources/ Restoration /

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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. In other words, we are a professional society working to set the standard for wilderness management. 

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (Leopold) is dedicated to the development and dissemination of knowledge needed to improve the management of wilderness, parks, and similarly protected areas. The Leopold Institute was established in 1993 under the Rocky Mountain Research Station and has been the wilderness research arm of federal agencies ever since. The Institute operates under an interagency agreement among the federal agencies that have wilderness management or research responsibility – the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was founded by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, and today oversees 445 wilderness areas or 33% of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  Inaugural Chief of the USFS, Gifford Pinchot, stated that the USFS existed to “provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”

Program Overview

Wilderness is the only public land designation that mandates Federal land managers to protect outstanding opportunities for a unique recreational experience, namely “solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation” (Wilderness Act, Section 2[c]). Although the Forest Service cannot ensure that visitors will have such experiences, the agency must protect conditions that promote such opportunities and keep them from declining over time. Thus, wilderness should provide opportunities for introspection, natural quiet, challenge, and freedom from societal obligations.

In order to understand how a wilderness area provides outstanding opportunities for specific, unique recreation experiences over time, solitude monitoring is utilized. Encounters – specifically, seeing or hearing other people during a wilderness trip – is the best available indicator of opportunities for solitude. Usually, encounters are the number of other people seen or heard during a wilderness trip. Solitude monitoring consists of recording the number of encounters over a given period of time in a certain monitoring area. The Wilderness Monitoring Ranger will use solitude monitoring to document the opportunities for solitude in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. For more information on visitor use management visit this link: https://wilderness.net/practitioners/toolboxes/visitor-use-management/default.php

Position Overview

The Wilderness Monitoring Ranger will work with the U.S. Forest Service to write a solitude monitoring plan and perform solitude monitoring in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. The Ranger will work with wilderness staff to collect, manage, and analyze solitude monitoring data. This position reports to the SWS National Program Director.

  • Location: Leadville, CO
  • Duration: June, 2020 – August, 2019 (12 weeks total; timing is flexible)
  • Time: Full Time (40 hours), Seasonal

Primary Wilderness Monitoring Ranger Responsibilities

  • Work with wilderness staff to write a solitude monitoring plan.
  • Complete solitude monitoring data collection in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.
  • Work with wilderness staff and volunteers to schedule and perform monitoring site visits based on established protocols and input the new information into existing databases.
  • Train volunteers on solitude monitoring protocols and lead solitude monitoring trips with volunteers.
  • Work with wilderness staff to analyze data.

Key Qualifications

  • Working towards or completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a related field.
  • Educational background in Wilderness Management, Protected Area/Natural Resource Management, Recreation Resource Management, Conservation Social Science, Environmental Policy, Natural, Biological and/or Physical Science.
  • Deep interest in wilderness/resource management and the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  • Research skill and attention to detail and organization.
  • Ability to hike, backpack, and camp in a wilderness or backcountry setting and skilled at orienteering using map and compass.
  • Comfortable with GPS and data entry.
  • Understanding and ability to use GIS is a plus.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively on projects and 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.
  • Must be comfortable in various indoor and outdoor work environments, and in sometimes adverse weather conditions.
  • Must have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • A personal vehicle is highly suggested for travel to and from Leadville and for off-day travel.

Essential Functions:

  • Employee may be required to sit, stand, and lift objects up to 50 lbs.
  • Employee may be required to travel and camp in the backcountry, and to drive to remote project locations. 


  • Salary: $12 hourly rate
  • Benefits: 1 earned personal day per month (vacation is not eligible to be cashed out at any time) and federal holidays; Forest Service housing provided.

To Apply

  • Please click "Apply" below to email a resume, cover letter, and three professional or academic references to Jacob Wall.
  • Closing Date: January 31, 2020

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.

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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