Wilderness Programs Manager

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The Wilderness Programs Manager is responsible for managing and coordinating wilderness programs, operated by NatureBridge in Yosemite, including environmental science backcountry programs, Merced Grove Cabin trips, and also supports extended summer backcountry programming including NatureBridge Summer Backpacking, ALCOA Scholars, and Armstrong Scholars expeditions.  The Wilderness Programs Manager is also the coordinator of the WildLink programs, run in partnership with the National Park Service. The ideal candidate has experience in facilitating overnight programs in the Yosemite Wilderness.

The WildLink program is a fully scholarshipped, multi-touch point program that gives underserved teens a series of wilderness and home- based experiences that will empower them to better their own lives and communities. In doing so, it ensures that the diverse California citizenry is informed, invested and committed to the relevance, benefits and enduring resource of Wilderness and public lands. WildLink is an innovative partnership between Yosemite National Park and NatureBridge.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

Manages WildLink Programs (50%)

  • Coordinates and oversees all aspects of the WildLink program including: wilderness expeditions, wilderness ambassador projects, pre- & post-trip Family Outreach Visits and WildLink Family Weekend(s),
  • Plans and leads trainings in backcountry environment to prepare educators to run safe, effective, logistically-sound WildLink programs in multi-day wilderness settings.
  • Develops and implements strategies to promote the participation of students and teachers in WildLink programs and events.
  • Orients new WildLink teachers to the logistics and expectations of WildLink programs, works with teachers to support programs throughout the year, and reviews each school’s participation annually.
  • Conducts in-school post-expedition meetings to offer opportunities for meaningful reflection on expeditions and plan Wilderness Ambassador Projects and other future WildLink events.
  • Develops and guides student efforts to develop Wilderness Ambassador Projects, including identifying and facilitating projects with other program partners.
  • Cultivates partnerships with community organizations, public land managers, schools and teachers to ensure opportunities for Wilderness Ambassador Projects.
  • Identifies and communicates education and career development opportunities and internships to WildLink alumni, particularly those related to wilderness and public lands.
  • Collaborates with Outreach and Enrollment to identify and cultivate new schools and groups to participate in WildLink.
  • Maintains WildLink program archives and updates the WildLink website, social media, and photo account with current program information. Manages data for Wildlink program and provides updated sharing for NPS and NatureBridge.
  • Oversees the work of the Wilderness Programs Education Support and Wildlink Support educator (one half FTE position).

Wilderness Program Execution & Development

  • Coordinates wilderness programs including environmental science backcountry programs and Merced Grove cabin programs.
  • Acts as on-call support during wilderness programs and periodically for regular programs.
  • Provides backcountry training, support and performance evaluation of educators on wilderness programs, including the Armstrong Scholars and NatureBridge Summer Backpacking expeditions.
  • Plans and leads trainings to prepare educators to run safe, effective, logistically-sound environmental education programs in multi-day wilderness settings.
  • Responsible for coordinating, reserving and obtaining wilderness permits.
  • Serve as NatureBridge liaison with NPS Wilderness Branch.
  • Responsible for developing and updating wilderness program curriculum.
  • Supports Development Team with information for grant proposals and reports.
  • Participates as a member of the Yosemite Education Team, helping inform decisions related to education and program logistics, and occasionally supporting day-to-day field operations.
  • Collaborates as appropriate with other NPS and NatureBridge staff to ensure the quality of wilderness programs and the student experience while in the backcountry.
  • Provides guidance and support for Outreach and Enrollment and Operations Teams to prepare potential and future student groups for backcountry program.
  • Administers and reviews individual registration paperwork for wilderness programs.
  • Works with Director of Food Service and Facilities to ensure safe setting for overnight trips to the Merced Grove Cabin.
  • Performs other duties as required.

Backcountry Risk Management

  • Works with the Yosemite Campus Risk Manager and the Director of Risk Management to ensure safe, responsive programming in wilderness settings.
  • Maintains updated protocols and policies outlined in Backcountry Manual and Merced Grove Manual in coordination with Education Director, Director of Risk Management, and Director of Food Service and Facilities.
  • Performs other duties as required.


  • Oversees the work of the Yosemite Gear Coordinator (one half FTE position) to ensure the maintenance, quality, and inventory of all backcountry gear including WildLink gear store in coordination with NPS.
  • Works with Gear Coordinator and Education Director to identify budget needs and manage funds for student gear, backcountry equipment, radio equipment and first aid supplies.

Program Evaluation & Analysis

  • Evaluates and reports on wilderness program delivery and outcomes and collects and compiles demographic and experience data for use in evaluation and reporting.
  • Evaluates program systems and efficacy and makes recommendations for innovation.

Experience, Competencies & Education

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

Required qualifications include:

  • Bachelor’s degree or greater, plus three to five years experience in experiential or environmental education including wilderness expedition programs
  • Experience working with underserved populations (Wildlink programs are designed to support underserved students)
  • Experience coordinating program logistics
  • Highly organized and comfortable working with limited oversight
  • Must be able to hike seven to ten miles with a full expedition backpack and lift and carry loads of up to 60 pounds
  • Backcountry programming skills
  • Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification
  • Self-motivated, pro-active communicator who is able to work both independently and as a member of a team

Desired qualifications include:

  • Ability to speak Spanish
  • Knowledge of the National Park Service and experience working as a park partner
  • Familiarity with NatureBridge programs  in Yosemite National Park
  • Familiarity with Yosemite National Park Wilderness

Working Conditions & Physical Demands

  • Must be able to work in an open office setting with a low to moderate noise level.
  • Must be able to work a flexible 40 hour week that may include weekend or evening work.
  • Must be willing to travel to Yosemite gateway community areas on day and overnight trips as part of Wildlink Outreach.
  • Must be willing to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to stand or sit, walk with a pack over uneven terrain; use hands to handle or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; talk and hear. The employee must occasionally hike seven to ten miles at elevations ranging from sea level to 10,000 feet elevation with a full expedition backpack. The employee must be able to lift and carry loads of up to 60 pounds.

How to Apply

Qualified candidates should email their resume, cover letter, references (three professional) to: wildernessprogramsmanagersearch@naturebridge.org

This is a full-time, 12-month, exempt position. Salary is commensurate with experience. NatureBridge provides a comprehensive compensation package, including competitive salary, Medical, dental benefits, vision, and generous vacation. This position is based in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Position starts at the end of October 2019.

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