Volunteer FAQs

Hey Wilderness Corps, are you all the part of the USFS and do you get paid? 

No, we are a 501c3 non-profit. We are Partners with the Sierra National Forest. We volunteer with the Forest Service under the Volunteers in the National Forests Act of 1972. The Volunteers in the National Forests (VIF) program is authorized by the Volunteers in the National Forests Act of 1972. Before passage of the act, the Forest Service did not have the authority to accept voluntary services or to reimburse individuals for associated personal expenses. The Volunteers in the National Forests Act recognized the public’s interest in giving time and skills for community service. Wilderness Corps Volunteers are enrolled under this act. Volunteers receive no salary or wages from the Forest Service and give their time and talents to further the agency’s mission.

A volunteer is not considered a Federal employee and is not subject to the provisions of laws relating to Federal employment except for the purpose of tort claims or work-related injuries (Federal Employees Compensation Act of1974).

Hey Wilderness Corps, why do I have to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt on your trips when its 90 degrees out?

SAFETY is the answer. We work around all kinds of natural hazards, and the last thing that we want is our volunteers getting hurt. We also have a stipulation from the US Forest Service, that each volunteer must meet a minimum safety requirement regarding clothing.

Hey Wilderness Corps, why do you ask volunteers to get certified?

SAFETY is the answer. There are right ways and wrong ways to do everything. We want all of our volunteers to do things safely and correctly.  Our volunteers get to do some stuff, and it takes a lot of skill that needs to get honed and developed over time. Certifications Trailheads on complexity. Lastly, we have a stipulation from the US Forest Service the state’s volunteers, performing specific tasks must be certified.

Hey Wilderness Corps, why are you a supporter of OHV and 4×4’s, ATV and UTV’s?

Wilderness Corps main focus is Wilderness Trails; however, we also maintain the roads and in many cases OHV routes that terminate at Wilderness Trailheads or entry points. In most cases the USFS clears these routes, however, due to budget cuts and lack of funding, many of these tasks fall to the 4×4 clubs and non-profit groups like Wilderness Corps. Quite frankly, to accomplish our mission, we must work side by side with the OHV Community, Mountain Bike Community, Dirt Biker Community to keep these access routes open to us, and the public.

Hey Wilderness Corps, what are the certifications that I can get and what’s the cost?

Most of our certifications are free less the cost of your time, the cost of getting there and any gear that you desire to purchase for various reasons, in most cases.

Available Certifications:

  • Basic First Aid/CPR
  • Trail Boss Certification via the Boy Scouts of America & the USFS.
  • Leave No Trace Master
  • Crosscut A Bucking Certification
  • Crosscut B Bucking Certification
  • Crosscut A Felling Certification
  • Crosscut B Felling Certification
  • Chainsaw A Bucking Certification – Prerequisite Crosscut B Certification
  • Chainsaw B Bucking Certification
  • Chainsaw A Felling Certification – Not available on the Sierra.
  • UTV/ATV Certification
  • Rigging for Trail Work
  • Government Drivers License
  • Wilderness Corps is working on a certification path for volunteers which will be mostly online learning.

Hey Wilderness Corps, there is a lot of things volunteers need to know! Do you have a manual for all of this?

Yes, we are working on Version 1, which is geared to our crew leaders but is excellent information for our volunteers too. We will post a link when it is ready.

Hey Wilderness Corps, do I need to get a permit to go on your trips?

No. Our crew leaders submit a list of participants to the Wilderness Manager before each trip.

Hey Wilderness Corps, where can stay when working on your projects?

We are partners of the Sierra National Forest; we have access to facilities that inaccessible to the public. There are a lot of government facilities scattered throughout the Sierra National Forest that Wilderness Corps has access to. Facilities include Rustic Cabins and Ranger Stations and Work Centers. It depends on what you’re doing and where the location of work is a determining factor to which facilities will be available.

Wilderness Crews backpack into the Wilderness and camp. Volunteer Visitor Information Services (VVIS) Volunteers stay at the Ranger Stations. OHV Volunteers can Camp at the work centers. Wilderness Corps Staff that have passed a background check can make use of USFS Cabins at the discretion of the District Ranger.

Hey Wilderness Corps, most of your trips are on the weekend, do you offer outings during the week?

We absolutely can do this, but we need people to volunteer to be crew leaders. Once we have Crew Leaders trained, we can offer trips during the week. All of our crew leaders today, have fulltime jobs which preclude us from hosting weekday trips.

Hey Wilderness Corps, what is PPE?

PPE Stands for Personal Protective Equipment, and different tasks have different PPE requirements. For example, hiking requires Boots, Long Sleeve Shirts, Long Pants, Sunglasses and Leather Gloves.

Hey Wilderness Corps, do you offer Food for Volunteers on Trips?

No, not at this time. We need more people to volunteer and offer to organize and coordinate this.

Hey Wilderness Corps, what is the TST?

The TST is a point to point hiking trail that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail. TST is abbreviate Theodore Solomons Trail and named after the man that designed the John Muir Trail and this trail. It is currently a collection of partially maintained USFS and NPS Trails. A few individuals have hiked the whole trail, and their stories are amazing. A large section of the TST lies within the Sierra National Forest and goes right through the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. It is the only thru-hiking trail on the western side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Hey Wilderness Corps, I have a 4×4 that I want to bring on a trip. What are your safety requirements?

Trailcrew Events require additional equipment and can have special restrictions. Be sure to check before attending the event.
  •  A Rollbar or factory installed hard-top.
  • An Emergency brake, parking brake, line-lock or another redundant braking system(s).
  •  A Tow strap or Amsteel (recommend rated at two (2)  times the vehicle weight).
  •  Type IV First Aid Kit
  •  Jack capable of lifting the vehicle & tools and knowledge of changing a tire.
  •  Spare tire within 3 inches diameter of other tires, or, for tires 37″ or larger, run-flats or tools to repair/reinflate tire.
  •  Fire extinguisher with gauge indicating good/full, appropriately stored.
  •  Seat belts for all vehicle occupants and 5-point seat belts when possible.
  •  Antennas must be rigid only or secured as not to harm others.
  •  Adequate attachment points front and rear for example, tow hooks, receiver, etc. Tow balls are not permitted.
  •  Battery hold downs (no Bungie Cords).
  • Tools and Chainsaws must be secured to the vehicle, as not to harm the occupants if the vehicle bounces. All tools must have protective covers covering the sharp edges. Please refer to the JHA’s for the event.
  • A Winch and a driver with experience using the winch for self-recovery.

Hey Wilderness Corps, are there other things that I can do if I cannot go on the Wilderness Trips?

Yes, absolutely. We have a lot of administrative tasks that are computer related to data entry that can be done from anywhere and we are always looking for volunteers to help us with technology development and innovation specifically mobile applications. We are also expanding innovating. Our Winter OSV Program is another excellent example of that.

Quick Links

California Fire/Stove Permit Caltopo.com for trip planning inciweb to check if there are wildfires in your destination area

Wilderness Permits

Wilderness Permits are required to overnight in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, Kaiser Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness and Ansel Adams. Please get a permit. Bear cans are required in the Sierra National Forest.