Trail Builder

Many outdoorists will do some volunteer trail work at some point, but a few will make a career of it. I’ve always assumed it would make for a very hard business, but of course I’ve never tried it. Here I’ll summarize what I learn from those who have.

Main Attractions

  • More outdoor time
  • Enhances the outdoor experiences of others
  • Contributes to the stewardship of outdoor resources

Outdoor Time

  • Lots, coupled with construction labor


  • Seasonal

Keys to success

  • Finding the right organization for you
  • Complementary off-season work

2 responses to Trail Builder

  1. I’ve been trail-building during the summer for three years now, and it has definitely helped me stay in touch with the outdoors when all through the school year I end up on a weekend warrior existence. The first year I was with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, which does all kinds of conservation work in Vermont, and the past two I’ve been with ATIS. There’s so many organizations out there, which lets you choose quite a bit about your existence on a trail crew. One of the main problems of making it a lifestyle is how seasonal it is, but every once in a while you find a few who manage. The ones I know couple the outdoor work with something related during the winter – one is an author, the other runs non-profits dedicated to trail improvement. It’s something that I hope to do one day, to be outdoors and help get other people out as well.

  2. Thanks Dewey! I’ve made some updates based on your comments. I hope you’ll report back as your outdoor life progresses!

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