Volunteer as a PCT Trailhead Host

Tom checks a thru-hiker's permit.

Volunteer Trailhead Host “Terminus Tom” provides visitor information for a thru-hiker in 2017.

The natural resources and unique recreation opportunities provided by the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail are impacted by five interrelated challenges:

  • Rapidly increasing number of visitors
  • Concentration of visitors in time and space
  • Insufficient awareness of or adherence to Leave No Trace practices
  • Choosing campsites in unsustainable locations with impacts to fragile habitats and water sources
  • Lack of understanding of management objectives including trail permit requirements

While the environmental deterioration, aesthetic damage, crowding and conflict that may result from the above conditions are not new problems, the increasing popularity of the PCT has reinforced the need for improved visitor information and visitor use data in select areas. Visitors come from a variety of backgrounds with varied levels of experience. Volunteer Trailhead Hosts work collaboratively with PCTA staff, U.S. Forest Service staff and partners to provide accurate information and ensure that resource protection messages and management objectives are communicated to trail users. 

PCT Southern Terminus Trailhead Host
February-May 2021

The Cleveland National Forest is seeking a volunteer (or a pair/couple) to provide information and collect visitor use data at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail near Campo, California.

This position will last approximately 13 weeks from late February until about the end of May 2021. During this period the Terminus Host will be based at the PCT Southern Terminus trailhead between 7am –12pm, 5 to 6 days per week, working under the supervision of the Pacific Crest Trail “Crest Runners.”

Protecting the PCT experience is dependent upon informed users and current and reliable data. The Pacific Crest Trail Southern Terminus Trailhead Host serves as a key member of the PCT team, providing visitor information and education and compiling visitor use data. The host often serves as the first face-to-face contact for trail users and should possess strong communication skills and be customer service oriented. The host will provide information to trail users about regulations, Leave No Trace principles and trip planning. The host will also compile and maintain visitor use data and keep detailed records.

The position will be primarily field-based and work in an outdoor setting in a variety of weather conditions. The host will follow enhanced safety protocols while volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If You or Someone You Know is Interested

  • Read the full Southern Terminus Trailhead Host position description
  • To apply please send a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] by February 5, 2021
  • The PCTA and the Forest Service are interested in finding a person, or couple, who is interested in filling both Trailhead Host positions (Southern Terminus and Kennedy Meadows). This would be an effective way to ensure PCT users are receiving consistent and high quality trail information; however, people applying for both positions should be realistic about the challenges of filling both positions. Talking with hikers and large groups of people 5-6 days a week can be demanding and anyone applying for both positions should be realistic about doing this work for an extended season. It’s important to PCTA and our partners that this is a positive volunteer experience and that people are not overcommitted.

PCT Kennedy Meadows Trailhead Host
May-July 2021

The Inyo and Sequoia National Forests are seeking a volunteer (or a pair/couple) to provide information to PCT travelers and collect visitor use data on the Pacific Crest Trail near Kennedy Meadows, California.

The Pacific Crest Trail Kennedy Meadows Trailhead Host position will last 610 weeks between May and July 2021. During this period the Trailhead Host will be based on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) near Kennedy Meadows. The host will be tasked with finding the best specific locations, and the best specific times, to be present on the trail and administer their duties. This may include working early in the mornings or late into the evenings, and up to five days per week and six hours per day to maximize visitor interaction.

Protecting the PCT experience is dependent upon informing trail users of Leave No Trace information and reliable trail information. The Pacific Crest Trail Kennedy Meadows Trailhead Host serves as a key member of the PCT team, providing visitor information and education and compiling visitor use data. The host often serves as the first face-to-face contact for trail users and should possess strong communication skills and a willingness to work with others.  The host will provide information to trail users about local regulations, Leave No Trace principles, and trail conditions.  The host will also compile and maintain visitor use data, keeping detailed records. 

The position will be primarily field-based and work in an outdoor setting in a variety of weather conditions. The host will follow enhanced safety protocols while volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If You or Someone You Know is Interested

  • Read the full Kennedy Meadows Trailhead Host position description
  • To apply please send a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] by February 5, 2021
  • The PCTA and the Forest Service are interested in finding a person, or couple, who is interested in filling both Trailhead Host positions (Southern Terminus and Kennedy Meadows). This would be an effective way to ensure PCT users are receiving consistent and high quality trail information; however, people applying for both positions should be realistic about the challenges of filling both positions. Talking with hikers and large groups of people 5-6 days a week can be demanding and anyone applying for both positions should be realistic about doing this work for an extended season. It’s important to PCTA and our partners that this is a positive volunteer experience and that people are not overcommitted.

Note on 2021 Volunteer Trailhead Host Positions

It’s essential that we interact with and educate trail users, including day hikers and weekend backpackers, on the importance of practicing LNT principles and reducing the human footprint on the fragile landscapes surround the PCT. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated risks, the PCTA, the U.S. Forest Service and other state and federal agencies are still considering whether to issue long-distance permits for the PCT in 2021, which would facilitate thru-hiking. An announcement on a decision is expected in early January.

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