Download the Volunteer Handbook.
What do Volunteer Rangers do?
- Naturalist: Give nature walks and/or present programs.
- Information Specialist: Staff the Mill Creek, Barton Flats, Big Falls, and Horse Meadows Stations to provide permits, maps, and other information to forest visitors.
- Forest Patrol: Backpack overnight in the wilderness, ride your horse along trails and dirt roads, day hike along trails to assist visitors, protect the forest, and perform minor trail and camp maintenance.
- Trail Crew: Maintain and improve trails throughout the San Bernardino National Forest.
- Recreation Maintenance Crew: Improve recreation facilities in the forest.
Anyone 18 years or older may participate in the volunteer ranger program. Persons 10 to 17 years of age may participate with a parent or legal guardian under certain restrictions. The volunteer program operates May through September, primarily on weekends and holidays. New volunteers serve with veteran volunteers or Forest Service personnel.
Unfortunately, we can only afford to offer the new volunteer training day once each year. Please reserve the Saturday before the Memorial Day weekend on your calendar; in 2016, Training Day was held on May 21.
Whatever their primary activity, volunteers may be assigned to work at one of our visitor centers up to four days each summer as needed. There is no enforcement work done by volunteers. Volunteers perform as always friendly hosts to provide information and assistance to visitors and to keep trails and camping areas clean and in good repair. Please see “Requirements” below.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Volunteer Program is best suited to local California residents as neither the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association or the United States Forest Service offer room and board or stipends for volunteers in the program. Additionally, volunteers will need transportation to commute between their residence and the place of volunteer duty. If you seek volunteer work anywhere in the U.S. and the SGWA Volunteer Program does not suit you, please click here for additional volunteer opportunities.
NOTE: Any questions about the status of your Volunteer Application or other specific questions about the program may be answered by email.
- Attend Forest Service orientation/safety training in May.
- Serve at least two days a month from June through September.
- Obtain your own current basic first aid/CPR card or certificate, or have other equal or greater training (e.g., RN or paramedic certification).
- Be able to physically and mentally perform the type of service chosen, all of which require good people skills to work with other volunteers, Forest Service personnel, and the public.
- Be willing to work at one of the visitor centers as assigned up to four days each summer if your primary activity is other than visitor center work.
- Be experienced in hiking, backpacking, or horseback riding on mountain trails if you choose service requiring such.
- Have your own equestrian, camping, and hiking equipment, and purchase your own volunteer uniform (about $40-$70).
Location: In and around the San Gorgonio Wilderness and Big Bear Lake areas east of San Bernardino. The San Gorgonio Wilderness is located on the San Bernardino National Forest, approximately 75 miles east of Los Angeles. Click here for vicinity map.
- Training and experience in forest skills
- Serving with other volunteers and Forest Service personnel
- Satisfaction in performing a much needed service
- Protecting the place you love
- Twenty percent discount on merchandise sold by SGWA
- A great way to “pay back” the wilderness for the pleasure you receive from it
- Working, but also having fun in a beautiful setting!