Combine your love for service and the outdoors! Spend part of your summer doing service and exploring the Adirondacks. Feel the grip of a shovel in your hands as you make a new trail. Climb high peaks and cross rivers as you explore. Spot wildlife you’d never see in the city. Practice leading your group. Surprise yourself with how far you can go.
This course will take you through the Adirondack Forest Preserve, one of the oldest protected lands in the country. You’ll climb high rocky peaks, cross chilly creeks, and camp in ancient hardwood forests. You'll work hard hiking over terrain that can be steep or muddy with all of your gear on your back—often following a trail, sometimes forging your own.
Along the way, you’ll set up a base camp for several nights at a time at remote work sites, where a Forest Ranger will lead your group in a service project. These projects might include building or repairing bridges, replacing trail signs, shoring up eroded trails, clearing brush, or cleaning up impacted campsites.
The backpacking portion of your course will begin with basic camping and travel techniques: cooking, camping, stove use, map reading, Leave No Trace techniques, and practices for hiking and camping in black bear habitat. Later, you'll move into more advanced topics, including compass use, advanced baking, group dynamics, and developing your own leadership style. Because of this area’s unique natural and human history, you will also have lots of opportunities to check out local history, wildlife, ecology, and learn about the area’s public policy.
During work-project portions of your course, you’ll camp at a single location for four to seven days at a time. You’ll continue cooking and camping in small groups, and have leadership classes in the morning and evenings. Expect to put in long days of hard work, including heavy lifting and tool use (e.g., shovels, pulaskis, saws, axes). Your projects may not be glamorous, but they will ensure that others can adventure in this wilderness for years to come. By taking time out of your own expedition to care for our public lands, you’re serving both your country and your fellow travelers.
Ultimately, you’ll learn the skills needed to travel in the mountains long after your expedition ends, while gaining valuable exposure to a career in public land management.