Wilderness Fellow (Forest Service Idaho/Montana)
Title: Wilderness Fellow
Reports To: SWS National Program Director
Location: Salmon, ID or surrounding areas (Missoula or Boise) Work is primarily remote with some travel to the FC-
RONRW in the season.
Duration: May 1st, 2023– November 1, 2023 (6 month contract)
Time: Full Time (40hr/week), Seasonal
Benefits: 1 earned personal day per month (vacation is not eligible to be cashed out at any time) and federal
Initial Application Review Begins: 03/24/2023
To Apply: Email a cover letter, resume, and 2 professional or academic references to Julia Cotter,
firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The Wilderness Fellows Program 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 Act.
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.
The Wilderness Fellow Program is seeking qualified candidates to fill a Wilderness Fellow position for the Frank
Church River of No Return Wilderness. This fellow will be either based out of USFS bunkhouses, or work remotely,
with some travel into the Wilderness. Preference will be given to applicant with living in the region, or with specific
knowledge of the region. Work is roughly 90% office based and 10% field based, and is performed in collaboration
with USFS offices to support the goals of the interdisciplinary wilderness character monitoring initiative and
wilderness stewardship performance currently underway in the USFS. This fellow will work closely with wilderness
staff to finish a drafted wilderness character baseline report, establishing trends for future wilderness monitoring
and preservation. This fellow will also organize monitoring data from previous years, and work with the forest to
standardize solitude monitoring protocol and trails monitoring protocol across the FC-RONRW. Transportation for
field work will be provided or reimbursed. It is highly recommended that this employee have a personal car while
living and working out of this area.
Primary Wilderness Fellow Responsibilities
● Attend one week training at Powell Ranger Station, near Missoula, Montana (travel provided).
● Coordinate meetings with USFS resource specialists and line officers to gather information regarding
● Finalize the current Wilderness Character Monitoring Baseline and coordinate the final signing process for
● Work with wilderness staff to improve Wilderness Stewardship Performance scores by creating a
methodology for forests to conduct assessment of Trail Management Objective conformance. This
includes identifying a strategy to rectify those trails that are not in conformance, developing a protocol to
survey user created trails and developing a strategy to address user created trails.
● Research, compile and analyze solitude monitoring across the FC-RONRW from the past three year, and
develop a strategy for management account to improve solitude monitoring. Assist in implementing that
strategy to ensure 80% of all identified solitude monitoring occurs.
● Travel to and into wilderness areas.
● Participate in weekly conference calls.
● Set and meet benchmarks and deadlines for data collection, meetings, and draft and final reports.
● Bachelor’s degree in a related field or work experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree.
● 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 is a plus.
● Results-oriented with the ability to set and follow realistic goals and objectives.
● Flexibility to adapt when faced with changing needs and priorities.
● Ability to travel to training and remote field locations (travel provided), and to relocate if necessary
(assistance not provided).
To Apply: Email a cover letter, resume, 1-2 page writing sample, and 2 professional or academic references to Julia
Cotter, email@example.com, by 5:00p (MST) on Friday, February 24th, 2023. 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.