Internship-Natural Resource Steward-Independence River Wild Forest

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Program Dates: 5/20/2024 - 9/9/2024

About us:

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the largest provider of hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and adults. Program participants protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks, and community green spaces across the country.

Program Description:

Are you and equestrian enthusiast? Come protect the scenic Independence River Wild Forest and Otter Creek Horse Trails and explore a beautiful corner of the Adirondacks this summer!

* This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps. If you are selected for this program please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process. No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance.*

In this position, you will access the Independence River Wild Forest by vehicle, foot, or canoe/kayak. Duties include: 1) Performing minor trail work (such as removing trail blowdown, installing, or replacing trail markers and signs, installing water bars), 2) Educating the public on the proper use of public lands, providing information on trail conditions and Rules and Regulations, 3) Notifying Department staff of issues such as hazardous trail conditions, public use levels, and emergencies, and 4) Administering horse camping facilities.

The candidate will work alone for a large portion of the time, sometimes in remote areas.

Applicants should be comfortable and self-reliant in a forest setting.public using these resources.

Objective/Targets:

  • Perform minor trail work (such as removing trail blowdown, installing or replacing trail markers and signs, installing water bars) as directed on a day-to-day basis

  • At least 3 days per week – walk Assembly Area and educate the public on the proper use of public lands, provide information on trail conditions and Rules and Regulations

  • Notify Department staff of issues such as hazardous trail conditions, public use levels, and emergencies as they arise

  • Administer Assembly Area facilities – permits, bathrooms, outreach. Visit Assembly Area at least 3 days per week

  • Stillwater Reservoir: Coordinate outreach with Assistant Forest Ranger, and complete minor facility maintenance tasks as assigned

Member Duties and Responsibilities:

  • 1. Otter Creek Horse Trails (~65%) -http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8088.html: This area is in the Independence River Wild Forest. The area spans from Francis Lake south to Big Otter Lake west to Brantingham north to Crystal Lake and then east to the Number Four-Francis Lake area, including State Forests Lewis 34, 35, and Lewis 20.

  • a. Patrol Assembly Area and trails by vehicle or foot: Answer visitor questions, inform them about registration process, and state land regulations. Report blowdown to NYSDEC staff.

  • b. Collect self-registrations from Assemble Area. (No handling of money is required)

  • c. Conduct minor trail projects in coordination with NYSDEC staff.

  • 2. Stillwater Reservoir (~25%) -http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/34382.html: This area consists of the Stillwater Reservoir, associated campsites and the Stillwater Fire Tower. The candidate may stay overnight in the field on occasion if they are comfortable doing so.

  • a. Work in coordination with the Stillwater Assistant Forest Ranger. When accompanying Ranger, travel by motor boat.
    b. Communicate and educate users of Stillwater Reservoir and surrounding lands.
    c. Patrol Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower Trail. Answer visitor questions.
    d. Conduct maintenance work on designated campsites and area trails.
    e. Patrol trails and facilities in Stillwater and surrounding areas. Report problems to the Lowville Office/Forest Ranger.

  • 3. Other Duties as Assigned: May include trail work, facility inventory and monitoring, or other special projects (~10%)

Member Benefits:


$200/week living allowance
$570/month housing allowance if housing is not provided
$80 reimbursement for work pants
$1,824 AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of your term of service

Eligibility for Federal Student Loan forbearance and interest payment deferment through AmeriCorps for qualifying student loans.

  • All Allowances are subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes.

Member Qualifications:

Requirements to Serve:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older

  • Must have a valid driver's license

  • Must have a personal vehicle

  • Must be a Citizen, National or Lawful Permanent Residing Alien of the US

  • Must have ankle high hiking boots

  • Experience, education, or training related to recreation management, environmental education/interpretation, ecology, and natural resource management is desirable but not required

Necessary Job Skills:

  • Must be physically capable of performing field work common to the assigned work area over rough terrain and during inclement weather

  • It is important that the intern be comfortable working independently, spending significant time hiking alone

  • Applicants should also be comfortable and self-reliant in a backcountry setting

  • Familiarity with using a GPS, map & compass, basic first aid & CPR, canoe or kayaking ability are also helpful but not required

Training Opportunities:

  • 4-Day SCA orientation

  • Trail tool safety

  • DEC / Radio Rules and Regulations

  • First Aid

  • Anti-Harassment Training

  • Driver Safety Training

Professional Development Opportunities:

A professional development series is hosted by the New York State SCA Program Coordinators over one month. Dates TBD but topics include:

  • Resume Workshop

  • Job Board Navigation

  • How to Interview

  • Intro to GIS/GPS

Depending on your site and workload, you may not be able to attend the live events, but recordings and opportunities for discussion will be made available to you.