Field Crew Leader

Job Location

Asheville, NC; Roanoke, VA


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Type of Job




Published Date

Jan 13, 2021

About the job

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Position Post Date: January 13, 2020


Join our team: Do you have a desire to learn about and care for public lands in the Southeast? Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is hiring for the following seasonal positions.


Position Title: Field Crew Leader/ Assistant Field Crew Leader

Position Duration: April 1 to mid-August or October, 2020

Status: Temporary/Seasonal

Compensation: Leader-$16.00/hr ; Assistant Leader, $15.00/hr; time and grade increases for returning staff.

Position Supervisor: Regional Program Manager

Location: Asheville, NC and Roanoke, VA

Application Closes: Application will remain open until positions are filled.



About Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS)

Founded in 2010, the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) is a conservation non-profit organization with expertise in Wilderness. We are dedicated to educating, cultivating, and empowering an engaged public and the next generation in the stewardship of public lands in the Southeast. At SAWS, we believe that taking care of our public lands and connecting them to the next generation matters. We also believe that it is our shared responsibility to care for these lands; to advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity in the outdoors; and to educate, train, and develop a skilled workforce to be the next conservation stewards and conservation leaders.

Headquartered in Asheville, NC and with an office in Roanoke, VA, we focus our efforts on wilderness areas in National Forests throughout the southern Appalachian region. We regularly work in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, and respond on a case-by-case basis to requests for assistance in other locations.

Learn more about SAWS and what we do at our website

Position Summary

Asheville Location:


Normally, the Field Crew Leader and Assistant Leader would lead a crew of six, comprised of the Field Crew Leader, an Assistant Field Crew Leader, and four Field Crew Members. The field crew leadership team will go through 8 weeks of pre-season training (described below) followed by 10-18 weeks working on multiday backcountry field projects for up to ten days at a time.


For the 2020 and 2021 field seasons, we’ve shifted our crew model to keep our employees and the communities we serve safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Crews will be comprised of three individuals: a Field Crew Leader, an Assistant Field Crew Leader, and a Field Crew Member.


Roanoke Location:


The Field Crew Leader and Assistant Leader will run a crew comprised of 4-5 volunteer midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, the premier college for aspiring officers in the US Navy. The field crew leadership team will go through 8 weeks pre-season training (described below) and then 10 weeks working on multiday backcountry field projects for up to ten days at a time.


For the 2021 field season, we will shift our Naval Academy crew model to keep our employees, the midshipmen and the communities we serve safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Training and Work:


The pre-season training for the leadership team consists of:

• Orientation

• Crosscut saw certification

• Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification

• Trail building and maintenance instruction

• Leadership skill development

• Backcountry camp and hygiene procedures

• Organizational policies and procedures

• Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity training and ongoing discussions

• Project Scouting

• Wilderness Skills Institute attendance and instruction experience


Once the season starts, all Field Crews may address projects including, but not limited to:

• Trail relocations

• Erosion control (installation of water bars, grade dips, log or stone steps, etc.)

• Reestablishing trail surface

• Brushing trail corridors and removing downed trees

• Non-native and invasive species removal

• Public education (Leave No Trace, bear safety and awareness, Wilderness education, etc.)

• Boundary marking

• Campsite impact mitigation


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

• Complete field crew leader training

• Adjust plans and decisions as the season, work week or day unfolds

• Lead, supervise and inspire crew members to effectively complete critical backcountry stewardship projects

• Communicate directions, project specifications and constructive criticism throughout the season

• Teach leadership skills and facilitate leadership opportunities for crew members

• Maintain tools and equipment

• Assist SAWS staff in developing and maintaining strong, positive relationships with US Forest Service personnel, partner organization staff and volunteers

• Track project progress daily and accurately report completed work at the end of each project

• Craft and curate media (blogs, photography, video, etc.) to share for reporting and documentation

• Follow and implement SAWS organizational policies in the field

• Maintain high standards for project completion

• Maintain an inclusive, safe, positive, and fun working environment


Benefits of the Position

Crew leaders and assistant crew leaders will receive the following additional benefits:

• Crosscut saw certification

• Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification

• Food stipend is provided ($9/day)

• May qualify for Public Land Service Corp (PLC) hiring authority

• Opportunities for professional network growth

• Sick time accrual

• Opportunities for pro-rated gear deals



In addition to enthusiasm for the SAWS mission, you will have the following:

• Ability to travel on foot over rough terrain for up to 10 miles per day while carrying 60 lbs or more

• Ability and desire to create a safe and inclusive work environment

• Ability to live and work in a remote and primitive setting with diverse groups of people

• Desire to be a member of a hard-working team and transformative non-profit organization

• Six to nine months of trail work experience, backcountry trail work experience a plus.

• Crew Leader applicants need at least three months of leadership experience in a field-based position.


To Apply

Please fill out the application and submit a cover letter and resume here. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to apply.

Questions regarding the application may be submitted via email to Eric Giebelstein, Regional Director at

Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.

SAWS is an equal opportunity employer and provides a drug-free workplace. SAWS values a safe, inclusive work environment, free from discrimination of any kind.