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Ranger Academy

June 5th-9th

Heart Bar Search & Rescue Facility

San Bernardino National Forest






The California Interagency Wilderness Ranger Academy provides an opportunity to access high quality skill building for those who engage in wilderness work in California.  It offers excellent opportunities for connecting Wilderness stewards – agency, partnership staff, and volunteers across the region both inside and outside of the classroom. 


Courses are designed to provide skills-based training at various levels of experience. The training will take advantage of existing virtual modules that were developed to adapt to the challenges of Covid-19 in combination with site-based teaching of physical skills. In addition, the event will facilitate connections that promote camaraderie of participants developed while comparing notes and sharing stories around campfires.

Registration is first come first served and open through May 5th. Due to high enrollment, it is not always possible to provide every participant with their first choice for the certification sessions. Upon registration you will be asked to rank sessions and we will work to enroll you in your highest choices depending on availability. You will be notified of the specific courses you are enrolled in 2 weeks in advance of academy.


Location & Accommodations

This year's ranger academy is located in the San Bernandino mountains at the Heart Bar Search and Rescue Facility located at: 46422 Heart Bar Park Rd, Angelus Oaks, CA 92305. Campsites will be provided to academy participants free of charge


Parking is limited at this location. Please carpool when possible and note that if you bring a car, it may not always be immediately accessible.

Available Sessions

Session descriptions
Reading a Compass

Backcountry Navigation

1 day, June 8th OR June 9th

This course will offer an exploration into backcountry navigation. Rangers will gain experience using maps, compasses, and various forms of GPS enabled devices. Data collection tools and methods will also be explored. Please bring your compass, smartphone, tablet or GPS device, if you have one. This course will not require overnight backpacking. It will include one day trip with participants returning to base camp at the end of the day. The Backcountry Navigation course will be a long day so please be prepared with lunch and have plenty of water. Course objective include:

  • Read a topo map

  • Understand how to read and use a compass

  • Take a field bearing

  • Navigate using a field bearing

  • Orient maps

  • Take a map bearing

  • Use declination and convert from map and field bearings or from field to map bearings

  • Understand different mapping grids 

  • Choose an ideal route of travel to reach a destination

  • Understand GPS abilities

  • Use GPS, maps, and compasses together to ensure navigation redundancy

  • Explore GPS enabled data collection methods

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