Covid-19 Volunteer Protocols

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of the Pacific Crest Trail community, from the feasibility of long-distance hikes and horseback rides on the PCT, to the health and safety of the PCTA’s members and volunteers. Our protocols refer directly to state, local, and agency guidance.

We understand everyone has different levels of comfort and acceptable risk. If you are not yet comfortable returning to volunteering, we support you in returning when you are ready!

For those who are ready to return to volunteering, our protocols are:

  • Volunteer activities will follow all applicable state, local and agency guidance. This may result in regional variation, so leaders will continue to work directly with the local Regional Representative or Volunteer Programs staff to coordinate and execute activities.
  • PCTA will continue to make all PPE available.
  • Any volunteer experiencing symptoms or who has been in close proximity to sick individuals must quarantine according to CDC guidance. A volunteer who contracts Covid-19 and suspects it to be from volunteering with PCTA should contact PCTA staff.
  • Online sign-in sheets, waivers, JHAs, etc. have been adopted as permanent features of PCTA’s volunteer programs and must be completed before each outing. Links to these online forms are Links to these online forms are automatically emailed to volunteers upon registration, but can also be downloaded from the Crew Leader Center.
  • Mask wearing and other prevention measures are dependent on the Covid-19 Community Level, as set each week by the CDC.
    • When the level is LOW or MEDIUM in the county where the volunteer activity is located, mask-wearing is not required during the volunteer project, regardless of vaccination status.
    • When the level is HIGH in the county where the volunteer activity is located, mask-wearing is required during indoor volunteer projects, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, during indoor projects, those who are not up to date on Covid-19 vaccines must stay at least 6 feet away from those outside your household.

  • PCTA is not checking or recording vaccination status of individuals in order to determine masking and physical distancing requirements. Individuals are responsible for self-determination of safe and responsible behavior as it relates to personal vaccination status.
  • All volunteer activities will be planned to accommodate and provide opportunity for all individuals regardless of vaccination status. No one may ask an individual about their vaccination status as it relates to volunteering with PCTA. Individuals may choose to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status.
  • It is everyone’s responsibility to create a safe and enjoyable space during PCTA activities. PCTA’s Crew Leadership Course (304) includes a section on “Recognizing Differences,” which reminds us “no group of volunteers will be entirely uniform. However, a comfortable atmosphere is important for all volunteers and it is the crew leader’s responsibility to ensure that needs are being met and that all members of the group are comfortable both physically and emotionally.” This is critical to remember as we move forward.

Click here to view/download these protocols as a PDF.

Click here to view Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

Additional Covid-19 Resources

Covid-19 Evacuation & Exposure Plan Step-by-step instructions for cases where an individual is suspected of Covid-19 exposure or infection due to volunteering with PCTA.
First Aid, CPR and Sawyer Certification Extensions The U.S. Forest Service has extended select recertification requirements due to limitations on in-person training during Covid-19. The most recent waivers and directives are available here: Sawyer Certifications (v. Oct. 2021)

The First Aid/CPR Extension has expired, and there is currently no plan to reinstate it. If you need assistance finding a First Aid/CPR course in your area, please reach out to [email protected].

PCTA will continue to monitor Covid-19 guidance and adapt these protocols as necessary. If you have additional questions, please email them to [email protected] or your local PCTA Regional Representative.

This page was last updated March 21st, 2022.

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