Covid-19 Volunteer Protocols

We know there are a lot of individuals who are eager to get back to volunteering for the trail — back to enjoying the camaraderie and pride of volunteering at PCT events, in PCTA’s offices, and out in the dirt with a hard day’s worth of trail work. This page is where you’ll find all of the PCTA’s resources and guidance for volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PCTA’s volunteer activities are optional and non-essential. Your health and safety is our top priority, and your participation is at your discretion. We understand everyone has different levels of comfort and acceptable risk. If you aren’t comfortable returning to volunteering when others are, we support you in returning when you are ready.

Trail Maintenance

Read our Covid-19 Trail Maintenance Safety Protocols here.

PCTA’s Covid-19 trail maintenance safety protocols allow variation in volunteer activities based on location, conditions and government guidance. Volunteer trail maintenance is permitted on a unit-by-unit basis when local agency staff and the associated PCTA Regional Representative agree that local public health guidance allows for such activities and the unit is ready to have volunteers back on trails.

Check the Engagement Level of your local unit here.

Please check the spreadsheet to see where units are in the process of engaging with PCTA volunteers. Note that the spreadsheet only reflects engagement related to Covid-19. It doesn’t reflect changes due to trail closures, wildfire, etc. The spreadsheet is being updated by PCTA’s Regional Representatives on a regular basis. Contact your local Regional Representative or visit the Pacific Crest Trail Closures page for more information.

Engagement Level overview

Agency units will be in one of the following levels. Read more about each level here.

  • Stay Home, Stay Healthy: No volunteer activities.
  • Engagement Level A: Scouting, project planning, tool maintenance.
  • Engagement Level B: Day projects that can be completed by small groups.
  • Engagement Level C: All trail maintenance or construction activities, not requiring closer than 6 feet spacing.

Also read:

Additional Covid-19 Resources

New Covid-19 related documents are compiled below. These supplement the forms and guidance on our Crew Leader Center.

PCTAConnect: How Does Registration Work During the Pandemic? Crew leaders have asked how Covid-19 safety protocols and the new online volunteer platform, PCTAConnect, will interact, since posting a project publicly to PCTAConnect will allow anyone to sign up. Released March 2021. PDF
Electronic Paperwork for Level A Volunteers must complete their Sign-in Sheet, Trail Survey JHA, Risk Assessment Worksheet, Covid-19 Release of Liability Form and electronic signature before each outing. Updated July 2020. Online
Electronic Paperwork for Level B & C Volunteers must complete their Sign-in Sheet, Trail Maintenance JHA, Risk Assessment Worksheet, Covid-19 Release of Liability Form and electronic signature before each outing. Updated July 2020. Online
Electronic Livestock Operations JHA For outings involving livestock, volunteers must complete an electronic Livestock Operations JHA in addition to standard Level B-C electronic paperwork. Released July 2020. Online
Printable Versions of Electronic Paperwork Volunteers should complete all forms online before each outing. (See above.) However, printable versions of new Covid-19 related documents are available.
Agency (USFS) Risk Assessment Worksheet: Risks Associated with the Spread of Covid-19 Specific to Volunteer Programs. Released June 2020. PDF
Covid-19 Release of Liability Form. Released June 2020. PDF
Video Tutorial for Electronic Paperwork This video tutorial explains where to find the required electronic paperwork for volunteer projects, how to fill it out, and when to fill out. Released August 2020. Video
Written Instructions for Electronic Paperwork These written instructions explain where to find the required electronic paperwork for volunteer projects and how to fill it out. Released September 2020. Word
Acknowledge Variable Risk of Covid-19 The CDC has determined that some members of the public are at higher risk for severe illness. Volunteers must review CDC guidelines and determine that participation in the project will not unduly jeopardize their health Online
Covid-19 Self Evaluation It is of paramount importance that those who may carry Covid-19 avoid social gatherings of any type – including PCTA projects. Volunteers must review symptoms of coronavirus on the CDC website and complete a self-evaluation before attending each project. Online
Tailgate Safety Session and Tool Checklist with Covid-19 Enhanced Safety Protocols Provides a checklist of important topics to cover, including enhanced safety protocols, during virtual pre-project safety sessions and tracking tools in the field. Released August 2020. Excel
Infographic for Volunteer Covid-19 Guidance An infographic highlighting steps to take before you volunteer, while you’re on a project, and post-project. Released June 2020. PDF
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 current waivers and directives are available here: First Aid/CPR (Feb. 2021) and Sawyer Certifications (Oct. 2020)
Covid-19 Trail Ambassador Safety Guidelines This document outlines specific safety protocols for volunteer Trailhead Hosts and Tabling volunteers. Updated April 2021. PDF

PCTA will monitor Covid-19 guidance and adapt protocols as necessary.

This page was last updated April 20, 2021.

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