Trail Crew Work
Our Summer Trail Crew is a paid internship program offered by CFPA. The Crew, typically 5-6 members, performs trail maintenance, repair and construction projects on the 825-mile Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System in Connecticut. The Crew works on projects large and small to improve the trails, the hiker experience, and to reduce impacts to natural resources along trail corridors. Crew members will learn from, and work closely with, professionals and experienced volunteers in implementing sustainable trail building techniques. Members are expected to hike up to 5 miles a day, carry their tools and gear, and actively contribute to the work being done.
Trail work is very physical. Whether it's cutting back brush, digging new trail, moving lumber for a bridge, sawing out tree blowdowns, or setting stone steps, crew members will use their hands and bodies throughout the day and the internship. Crew members should be prepared to work for a full day in heat, rain, or beautiful weather.
Crew members will use hand and power tools everyday during the season. With training and supervision, crew members will become proficient in the use of the tools of the trade, including digging tools, drills, chainsaws, rigging equipment, etc.
“I loved working for CFPA for a lot of reasons. I gained invaluable experience in trail work and maintenance, I got to work with a network of stellar volunteers, and I became a part of a weird and fantastic crew. I knew I wanted to do something with environmental stewardship, but the internship program at CFPA helped solidify my future aspirations of working in nature surrounded by people who are dedicated environmentalists.
I chose to work at CFPA, not really knowing the organization beyond a job description on an application. But, I came away with a plethora of knowledge ranging from tree identification that the crew did for fun to chainsaw operation and maintenance. This internship went far beyond doing work behind a desk. It allowed me to immerse myself in the forest and trail world and gave me a summer of immeasurable experience and excitement.” -Wesley Skidmore
The Crew has a work schedule of Tuesday- Saturday, 9am- 4pm. Aside from three weeks during which the crew will camp (see Spike Camp), interns are expected to commute to CFPA's headquarters in Rockfall, CT. The Crew will congregate, tool-up for the day, and head out to the work site in the Crew truck. Workday schedules can vary due to project site locations, site managing partners, and public work parties. The Crew will work on Saturdays to offer a greater opportunity for general volunteer engagement.
The Trail Crew season is 10-11 weeks from June-August.
Crew members are part of a close-knit team and projects are dependent on daily attendance of the crew members. If you cannot commit to being at work every day, please do not apply.
For three weeks during the summer, the crew will work in more remote parts of the State. To reduce travel time and simplify logistics, the Crew will "spike" camp. Crew members will travel to camping sites and work out of those remote locations.
During those weeks on Spike, we sleep in tents, cook together, share meals, and practice Leave No Trace principles. Food, gear, and transportation to the campsites will be provided by CFPA. Spike is one of the major highlights of the Summer for crew members. The extended time in the woods builds camaraderie, strengthens the Crew community, and offers an opportunity to more deeply connect with the outdoors. Members will have time after-hours to further explore the trails and natural features of the area.
In the past, the Trail Crew has camped at White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Goodwin Education Center in Hampton, and the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown.
"I am very happy to have spent my summer working outside on trails with CFPA. Every day I knew I was accomplishing something for others, while enjoying the scenic outdoors. I think the most important part of this summer was knowing that my work was meaningful. I accomplished so much and helped an organization whose values are akin to my own. I had always been interested in conservation, but I did not know how to enter the field or what the work entailed. Now I would feel confident pursuing another job or volunteer position related to the trail work I did with CFPA." -Marissa Jayawickerama
Skills and Benefits
The best way to learn about trail construction and maintenance is in the field. The Crew will amass a wealth of field experience, will travel to unique and forested parts of the State, and will be exposed to a wide variety of specialty trail skills. Additionally, crew members will attend First Aid & CPR training and the 2-day Game of Logging chainsaw training.
Supplemental skills and experiences include:
* Hand tool maintenance
* Botany and Wildlife
* Outdoor cooking and nutrition
* Rigging use and safety
* Basic structure-building and professional job skills
Crew members will work as part of the CFPA conservation family and will be exposed to the workings of CT's oldest nonprofit conservation organization.
Team members will be paid a stipend.
Who Should Apply
The internship is open to anyone between the ages of 18-24 years old. If you have a positive attitude, are enthusiastic about the outdoors, and are interested in learning about trail stewardship and conservation, this might be the job for you! Students pursuing a degree in an environmental or a recreation-related field can work with their school and CFPA to see if credit can be attained for their internship.
CFPA is not currently able to provide housing for interns. Contact CFPA if housing is an issue for you.
For the official position description and application specifics, click here.
"When I applied for the internship at CFPA, I was nervous. I hadn't done trail work before, and I did not know what to expect interviewing, or what the job would really entail, beyond the job description and requirements. It turned out to be one of the best Summers of my life; working hard with great people, seeing beautiful places all over the state, getting invaluable insight into myself and what I want to do with my life, and gaining lots of experience with a wide variety of skills." -Al Sedor