Youth and Community Engagement Banner by Kelly McGinley



We prepare and educate visitors as they explore the wonders of the Appalachian Trail. Our work involves promoting outdoor ethics to minimize our impact to the environment. We also engage and educate our supporters on issues important to the A.T. experience.
Ridgerunner Patch Logo

ridgerunners and caretakers

Ridgerunners and caretakers are seasonal employees assigned to hike and camp along high-use sections of the A.T. and at heavily used overnight sites. The ridgerunner and caretaker program helps promote a quality recreational experience for all.

Ridgerunners are assigned to work on specific sections of the Trail, which can be up to 70 miles long. They spend most of their work day on the Trail, talking to hikers and other Trail visitors. At trailheads they may discuss hikers’ itineraries, potential campsites and the importance of using already impacted campsites in heavily used areas. At campsites and shelters they might talk about effective food storage in bear country or area campfire policy.

These trail stewards make note of the condition of the Trail itself, campsites, shelters or other built structures and report any conditions that need immediate attention to maintaining clubs and agency partners. While infrequent, ridgerunners occasionally become involved in emergency responses, including searches for lost hikers or efforts to provide emergency medical treatment to ill or injured hikers.

We recruit for the upcoming season during November or December of the prior year. Information and applications are found in the Job Opportunities section.  Applications are usually accepted until Jan. 31. More information can also be obtained by calling the ATC’s Ridgerunner Coordinator at 717.258.5771 x203.



At approximately 2,190 miles, the Appalachian Trail is the longest single unit of the National Park System. With the number of people who enjoy this place each year, the potential exists that any of us may inadvertently damage the natural environment along the Trail and effect the experience for others. These negative effects can be minimized by adopting sound hiking and camping techniques which, while simple to learn, require a conscious and committed effort. If we are successful, the Trail will retain its essential natural qualities and continue to be a place where an extraordinary outdoor experience is available. Everyone’s help is important. Please do your part by committing to these practices, and encourage others to learn about and adopt these techniques which “Leave No Trace” on the Appalachian Trail.

Learn more about Leave No Trace

Resources for Educators


We strive to give educators across the country tools to teach a new generation about the Appalachian Trail and the national treasures that are our public lands. Whether this means visiting the Trail with your students, learning about Trail stewardship by cleaning up a local greenway, or calculating hike itineraries in math class, teachers can utilize the outdoors for their lessons and foster students' skills and appreciation for the local environment.

Place based education and service learning is an effective method of teaching that combines academic classroom curriculum with community service. This method of teaching encourages students to solve local community problems while offering a hands-on learning experience. Studies have shown that this method can increase student achievement, community involvement, and environmental responsibility.


The curricula provided below was developed by teachers. The curricula may be replicated or modified to meet the diverse learning needs of students at different grade levels and within different academic disciplines.

Trail To Every Classroom Curricula Image

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Within each curriculum there may be typographical or formatting errors, present when the curriculum was forwarded to the ATC, which the editors were unable to take the time to correct.
  • Teacher and/or school contacts may have changed since the curriculum was developed. Therefore, it is possible that the curriculum at individual schools may be no longer implemented.
  • Further resources cited, such as specifically named ATC staff, community leaders, and/or professional or academic personnel, may be no longer available and/or relevant.

Use the buttons below to filter the curricula available

Skill Development and Training


The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is committed to helping create a new generation of A.T. stewards. In the face of the growing impacts of climate change, population growth, energy development, and other threats, we believe that we must engage the full spectrum of society and strive to incorporate groups that are underrepresented among ATC staff, A.T. visitors, and ATC constituents in order to continue to preserve and protect the Appalachian Trail.

To help us achieve this mission, we offer a variety of programs to help people who are interested in careers in conservation develop the skills they will need to preserve and protect the Appalachian Trail and our public lands. By offering opportunities ranging from two-day skills workshops to year-long advisory council commitments, ATC hopes to inspire and train the future leaders of conservation.

Jobs and InternshipsSee Training Opportunities