Volunteer Training



Working on the A.T. involves inherent risk, but those risks can be minimized through planning, communication, training, and equipment. Every one is responsible for safety and the safety of our co-workers. Seeking and receiving the proper certifications or training for each Trail task is an essential component of safety.

The most important safety rule is this: Each volunteer has the obligation to say “No” and walk away from any situation they determine to be an unacceptable risk.

Basic safety equipment for all trail work includes a first-aid kit, sturdy boots, work gloves, long pants, and appropriate dress for the weather and conditions.

Safety Fundamentals

For work on and off the Trail, the best way to manage risk is to think ahead of hazards and work to prevent them, with things like personal protective equipment, or PPE. 



When working outside knowing the weather predictions and what to do in case bad weather moves in quickly is vital. Preparation is key. Recent weather related emergencies and A.T. conditions can be found at Trail Updates.  


Learn to recognize harmful plants, like poison ivy, and animals, like poisonous snakes and ticks, is essential to staying healthy.


If an accident occurs while performing volunteer work, remain calm, and refer to instructions found in your Volunteer Injury Packet.

Volunteer Protections

Volunteers on the Appalachian Trail are enabled through Volunteer Service Agreements with the National Park Service or the USDA Forest Service. 

More about Volunteer Service Agreements
Volunteer Service Descriptions
Volunteer Roster

Each time you volunteer, make sure you are listed on a volunteer roster, that you review dangers of specific tasks to reduce injury to yourself or others, and that you track and report hours and accomplishments.

Sample Roster
JHA Library 
In the event of an accident, this toolkit helps you file a claim. Each volunteer should carry an injury packet with them for any volunteer activity. 

Volunteer protections (link to bottom of page) 

Trail Safe

Trail Safe! is a unique safety program designed specifically for National Park Service trail volunteers. It's based on NPS Operational Leadership Training, where the human factor of safety is explored. 

The following eight lessons should be watched in order. The sessions range from 18 minutes to 40 minutes, or can be "binge watched"in 3 hours. Please report Trail Safe! training completion so we can send you a certificate and SPE/GAR Card. 

#2 Effective Leadership
20 minutes

#4 Mission Analysis
28 minutes

#5 Stress and Performance
27 minutes
#6 Situational Awareness
16 minutes
#7 Decision Making
13 minutes

Field Leadership Toolkit


Tips for Safety Sessions


JHA Library 
Request Field Leadership Hangtags for Tailgate Safety Briefing, Ongoing Work Day Safety, Leadership Checklist, and Tool Talk
Work Trip Roster
Emergency Response Plan

Essential tools for for planning your next A.T. project from start to finish. 

Work Trip Planning Resources
download (1)

JHA Library

The job hazard analyses (JHAs) posted below provide information on potential hazards, safety gear, and safety recommendations for various types of trail work. They are intended as guidelines and may not be comprehensive. Trail Maintenance Tasks, Hazards, and Recommended Safety Gear and the JHAs appropriate to the work planned should be reviewed by all participants before every work trip on the Appalachian Trail.