Applications are now open for the summer 2018 Central Idaho wilderness stewardship program!

Looking for something exciting to do this summer? Join our Central Idaho wilderness stewardship program to help protect the areas you love! Our wilderness stewards volunteer with a wide variety of projects over the course of the summer. The program is designed to fit around most schedules, with a time commitment of four steward patrols during the summer plus one day of training. If you love our wild places and want to help support them, learn more about becoming a wilderness steward today! You can start by checking out these FAQs about the program. Happy adventuring!

Q. What is the Central Idaho wilderness stewardship program?
A. The U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Conservation League started the wilderness stewardship program in 2016 with a goal of connecting people who are passionate about wilderness with opportunities to make a real difference. The program is a cooperative relationship between ICL and the Forest Service designed to protect and preserve the wilderness of Sawtooth Wilderness and the newly designated Hemingway-Boulders, Jim McClure-Jerry Peak and White Clouds Wildernesses. In summer 2018, we plan to extend the program to the Mt. Borah and Pioneer Mountain recommended wilderness areas. Our wilderness stewards join the program because they love wild places and want to support them by getting their boots on the ground and their hands dirty! These volunteers get out into wild places where they work on projects including invasive plant removal, fire rehabilitation, debris removal, dark sky monitoring and signage.

Q. What is the goal of the wilderness stewardship program?
A. The overarching goal of the wilderness stewardship program is to restore, protect and enhance wilderness character within the newly designated Hemingway-Boulders, Jim McClure-Jerry Peak and White Clouds Wildernesses, as well as in the Sawtooth Wilderness, through citizen and community engagement.

Q. Who can become a wilderness steward?
A. A wilderness steward can be any person 18 or older who is committed to volunteering time to restoring, protecting and enhancing wilderness character. If you prefer a group effort, designated wilderness stewards can involve their friends or family members in their conservation work too. Volunteers must be in good physical condition and be able to work at altitudes ranging from 5,000 to over 9,000 feet, travel in extreme weather conditions and hike five miles with a backpack.

Q. How much of a time commitment is it to serve as a steward?
A. Volunteer stewards have to commit a minimum of four steward patrols from June 11 to Nov 1. Stewards can begin their patrols once they have completed training on Sunday, June 10.

Q. Why become a wilderness steward?
A. If you’re like us, you’re already going out and enjoying these beautiful places on your days off, so why not become a wilderness steward and help take care of these areas while you’re out there! You can also enjoy your favorite outdoor setting with friends and family while you make a difference for the wild places you love.

Q. Why is it important that I volunteer?
A. Exciting opportunities await you as a partner in the stewardship of Central Idaho’s public lands. You will find many rewards and opportunities to learn new skills, meet interesting and highly motivated people who are experts in their fields, and do meaningful and rewarding work. We are confident that you will benefit from your volunteer experience. We will benefit from your unique background and skills.

Q. Who is an ideal candidate?
A. An ideal candidate is someone who…

  • Loves Central Idaho’s backcountry and wilderness areas
  • Has solid wilderness travel and decision-making skills
  • Is in good physical condition to travel long distance at high elevation
  • Possesses excellent communication skills
  • Is first aid/CPR certified (If your certifications are out of date, we have options for you to renew certifications.)
  • Has knowledge of Leave No Trace (LNT) principles

Q. What supplies will be provided for volunteers?
A. ICL and the Forest Service will provide…

  • Maps
  • Name tags
  • Work gloves
  • In-depth wilderness stewardship training
  • Trash collection kit
  • Write-in-the-rain notebook

Q. What is a wilderness steward responsible for?
A. A wilderness steward is responsible for…

  • Transportation to and from trailheads
  • Personal gear
  • First aid kit
  • Camera/cell phone
  • Optional: satellite messenger (SPOT or deLorme InReach)

Q. What areas can I become a steward of?
A. Stewards can select particular areas within the Hemingway-Boulders, Jim McClure-Jerry Peak, White Clouds, Sawtooth Wildernesses and the recommended wilderness areas in the Pioneer Mountains and around Mt. Borah. For example, you could choose a favorite location or a new area you’d like to learn more about and explore, such as Alice Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness or Boulder Chain Lakes in the White Cloud Wilderness.

Q. What type of training is provided for the wilderness stewards?
A. A one-day training will be provided for the wilderness stewards on Sunday, June 10. The training will cover…

  • The Wilderness Act
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Visitor contacts
  • Invasive species
  • Data collection and trip reports
  • Regulations
  • Conduct/ethics
  • Campsite naturalization
  • Dark sky monitoring

Q. What have wilderness stewards accomplished in past years?
In past years, wilderness stewards have been an invaluable resource. In the summer of 2017 they

  • Packed out an estimated 45 lbs of trash
  • Destroyed 30 fire rings and cleaned 28
  • Documented trail conditions, road reports, and sign damage to help the Forest Service prioritize projects.

Q. I want to become a wilderness steward. How do I apply?
A. If you are interested in becoming a wilderness steward, fill out the application and submit it to Betsy Mizell at the Idaho Conservation League office by Monday, May 15. If you have questions, call Betsy at 208.726.7485. After completing the application, you will be invited to attend our one-day stewardship skills session and training on Sunday, June 10. After successfully completing this training, you can begin work in your patrol.

Q. How do I find out more about being a wilderness steward?
A. An overview of the program and information about volunteer responsibilities and expectations will be shared at the session on Tuesday, April 25. More detailed information will be covered on the Sunday, June 10, training day. If you have any questions, call Betsy at 208.726.7485.