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Position description

Wilderness Fellow (Forest Service Arizona)

Title: Wilderness Fellow

Reports To: SWS National Program Director

Classification: Hourly

Location: Alpine, AZ working on the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest

Start Date: 07/10/23

Time: Full Time, Seasonal, 6 month contract
Salary: 15$/hr
Benefits: ½ earned personal day per 80 hours worked, paid federal holidays, and option to enroll in a simple IRA with 3% employer match. USFS Housing provided in Alpine, AZ but position can be done remotely.

To Apply: Email a cover letter, resume, 1-2 page writing sample, and 2 professional or academic references to Julia Cotter, Please include the position title and location you are applying for in the subject line of your email. 

The Society for Wilderness Stewardship (SWS) is a non-profit organization seeking to promote excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship, science, and education to ensure the life-sustaining benefits of wilderness.  In other words, we are a professional society working to set the standard for wilderness management.  


The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) For more than 100 years, the Forest Service has brought people and communities together to answer the call of conservation. The USFS seeks to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.


Program Overview

The Wilderness Fellows Program is a collaborative of the organizations above, and was created in order to
complete Wilderness Character Baseline Assessments, thereby continuing important assessment work that has
been underway since 2001, and fulfilling the USFS Wilderness Stewardship Performance (WSP) element
“Wilderness Character Baseline”. The Wilderness Character Baseline requires that steps be made to determine a
baseline and provide the foundation for evaluating trends in wilderness character. These trends indicate the
outcome of management actions and success at ‘preserving wilderness character’ as directed by the Wilderness

As stated in Keeping It Wild 2: An Updated Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across
the National Wilderness Preservation System (Landres et. al, 2015), “the results of wilderness character
monitoring provide [agency staff who manage wilderness day-to-day, and regional and national staff who develop
wilderness policy and assess its effectiveness] some of the key data they need to improve wilderness stewardship
and wilderness policy.” The report goes on to say that, “Implementing this monitoring strategy does not
guarantee the preservation of wilderness character, but it informs and improves wilderness stewardship, and
ensures managers are accountable to the central mandate of the 1964 Wilderness act – to preserve wilderness

In 2001, the USFS Wilderness Monitoring Committee developed the first national framework for Wilderness
Character Monitoring (WCM). Progression was attained by the USFS in 2006 with WCM pilot testing occurring in
every FS region, the publication of the Applying the Concept of Wilderness Character to National Forest Planning,
Monitoring and Management in 2008, and the 2009 distribution of the Technical Guide for Monitoring Selected
Conditions Related to Wilderness Character.

Position Overview
The Wilderness Fellow Program is seeking qualified candidates to fill Wilderness Fellow positions. This fellow will
be based out of the USFS bunkhouse on the Alpine Ranger District near Alpine, AZ and work with staff on the
Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. Work is roughly 90% office based and 10% field based, and is performed at
USFS offices to directly support the goals of a collaborative wilderness character monitoring initiative currently
underway in the USFS. This fellow will work closely with wilderness staff to produce a wilderness character
baseline report, establishing trends for future wilderness monitoring and preservation. Transportation for field
work will be provided. It is highly recommended that this employee have a personal car while living and working
out of this area.

Primary Wilderness Fellow Responsibilities
● Coordinate meetings with USFS resource specialists and line officers to gather information regarding
wilderness character.
● Research, compile and analyze legislative and administrative historical data per wilderness area.
● Travel to and into wilderness areas.
● Compile data for selected monitoring and complete components of a baseline assessment for wilderness
character monitoring.
● Implement inventory and monitoring strategies for tracking wilderness character.
● Participate in weekly conference calls.
● Set and meet benchmarks and deadlines for data collection, meetings, and draft and final reports.
● Create a narrative report for each wilderness area worked in.

Key Qualifications
● Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
● Educational background in Wilderness Management, Protected Area/Natural Resource Management,
Recreation Resource Management, Conservation Social Science, Environmental Policy, Natural, Biological
and/or Physical Science.
● Deep interest in wilderness/resource management and the US Forest Service.
● Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
● Research skill and attention to detail and organization.
● Ability to work both independently and collaboratively on projects, high degree of initiative.
● Understanding and ability to use GIS software.
● Results-oriented with the ability to set and follow realistic goals and objectives.
● Flexibility to adapt when faced with changing needs and priorities.
● Proficiency with Microsoft Office, comfort with technology and social media.
● Ability to travel to training and remote field locations (travel provided), and to relocate if necessary
(assistance not provided).
● Must have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record (documentation to be provided upon
● A personal vehicle is highly suggested for travel to the location and off-day travel.


To Apply: Email a cover letter, resume, 1-2 page writing sample, and 2 professional or academic references to Julia
Cotter, Please include the position title and location you are applying
for in the subject line of your email.

Essential Functions: Employees may be required to sit, stand, and lift objects up to 50 lbs. Employees may be
required to travel and camp in the backcountry, and to drive or fly to remote project locations.

The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is an equal opportunity employer.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual
orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, genetic
information, or any other protected status.

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