- Listing Type: Summer Programs
- Destination: United States
- Program Delivery: Residential
- Session Start: July
- Session Length: Four Weeks
- Entering Grade: 10th, 11th, 12th, PG, College
- Gender: Coed
- Category: Outdoor Adventure
- Sub-Categories: Hiking
- Selective: No
- Ages: 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
- Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
You’re ready to work hard and play hard in the Rocky Mountains. You’re looking for an opportunity to contribute to something bigger than yourself and are curious about public lands management. On this trip, you'll spend time in the Wind River Range accompanied by a Forest Service ranger and group of motivated peers working on service projects and backcountry living.
Your course will take place in the Wind River or the Absaroka Mountains: rugged, glacier-carved mountains renowned for their sheer granite walls, and famous for their fly-fishing. You’ll backpack in a wilderness surrounded by towering peaks, glistening alpine lakes, and perennial snow.
Along the way, you’ll base camp for several nights at a time at remote work sites, where a Forest Service 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; and cleaning up impacted campsites.
Your backpacking portion of your course will begin with basic camping and travel skills: cooking and stove use, map reading, Leave No Trace practices, and techniques for hiking and camping in grizzly bear habitat. Later, when you’re ready, the group will move into more advanced topics: fly fishing, compass use, snow travel, first aid, and leadership techniques. As you travel, you’ll learn about a range of topics, from natural history to leadership to geology, and you’ll have opportunities to put your new knowledge into practice every day.
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 having leadership classes in the morning and evenings. Expect to put in long, hard days of 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.