Posted by: Stan Russell | September 16, 2022

Would You Like To Be A Volunteer Wilderness Ranger?

Rangers Jaclyn, Lynn, and Colleen on patrol.

Would You Like To Be A Volunteer Wilderness Ranger?

Do you love to hike in the woods, enjoy well-maintained trails and backcountry campsites, and get a boost from talking to people? If so, you might consider becoming a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger in the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness areas.

What does a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger do?

In the Big Sur backcountry, the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger program is a collaboration between the nonprofit Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) and USDA Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest.

The main job of a ranger is to educate backcountry visitors—on all manner of things. It is important for campers to know current fire restrictions, for example; to understand the proper etiquette of pooping in the woods (including knowing where established wilderness toilets can be found); and to be aware of such hazards as poison oak and ticks. Building rapport with hikers is fun and easy.

Besides talking to hikers, rangers clear trash and abandoned gear from campsites. Fire rings are cleaned of ash and minimized at established camps, and removed from inappropriate sites. Wilderness toilets occasionally need to be re-dug. There is always trail work to do as well: sawing trees from the trail, cutting away encroaching brush, maintaining trail tread. Occasionally, rangers’ radio skills are called into play during helicopter rescues of injured hikers.

Sounds pretty glamorous, right? Wearing the USFS uniform is an honor and a privilege. Truthfully, the public loves to encounter a ranger. As an added bonus, you will come to know and love your fellow rangers, currently 18 people from all walks of life and with a huge variety of interests.

How do I apply?

It’s easy to get started. Just know that potential rangers are interviewed in October and if selected must attend a two-day training November 5 – 6, 2022. From there, trainees embark on a one-year adventure learning the ropes together with experienced rangers.

All you have to do is let the VWA central office know you are interested by emailing You will get a call from a ranger that will give you a rundown on what comes next.

We look forward to meeting you!

Rangers refreshing their USFS radio skills at the annual VWR Summit.

Our Contact Information
Ventana Wilderness Alliance
PO Box 506
Santa Cruz, CA 95061

Stan Russell
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 87
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2100

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 87
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2100

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