Caretaker & Ridgerunner
Education Program


Caretakers and Ridgerunners work
with college groups

Katahdin, Gulf Hagas, Saddleback Mountain, and the Bigelow Preserve: these are some of the most beautiful place on the Appalachian Trail.  To help protect the trail the MATC sponsors the Caretaker and Ridgerunner Education program.   Each summer, Caretakers and Ridgerunners (CTs/RRs) reside at four popular sites: Horns Pond in the Bigelow Preserve, Piazza Rock, near Saddleback Mountain, Gulf Hagas, and Abol Bridge, at the border of the “100 mile wilderness” and Baxter State Park.  Environmental problems addressed include: threats to alpine plants and wildlife habitat, illegal fires, erosion, emergency incidents and noise. CTs/RRs interact with up 10,000 backpackers. With coverage from May to October, the MATC has the only non motorized, recreation education program in the region. CTs/RRs teach people to be part of the solution in preserving the wilderness.  The program piggy-backs on the well regarded national program, Leave No Trace (LNT) which teaches backcountry knowledge, skills and ethics. CTs/RRs model LNT, give backcountry camping advice, and teach on-trail LNT workshops at campsites.  CTs/RRs provide a daily management presence deterring environmental impact, vandalism, injuries and illegal fires, lessening the need for emergency personal.

Many backpackers are from youth groups including colleges, high schools, summer camps and scouts. These organizations utilize the AT for team building, challenge, physical activity and research education. Other hikers include long distance hikers, local people on day trips, and overnight back packers from all over the world.
In addition to on-trail education the MATC pre-registers 900 youth backpackers; provides 90 organizations with pre-season itinerary planning, LNT literature and email correspondence; and provides youth organizations with follow-up communication and evaluation.

The CT/RR program promotes the value of volunteerism in conservation. Volunteers are responsible for CT/RR supervision, recruitment, hiring, training, gear, equipment, and group registration. Dozens of volunteers come together to “pack-in” and “pack-out” the CTs/RRs carrying in gear to set up/take down camp sites. Through the CT/RR program the MATC has recruited many groups for regular volunteer trail work. For example, Unity College, Camp Tekiwitha, Brewer High School and others assist with conservation projects alongside CTs/RRs.

MATC Caretakers and Ridgerunners

MATC Caretakers and Ridgerunn

Maine Appalachian Trail welcomes Rachel, Moxie and Grace as this season’s caretakers and ridgerunners. These experienced backpackers will work and live at three heavily used Appalachian Trail locations from May through October.  MATC Caretakers and ridgerunners will interact with approximately 10,000 hikers this season putting a special focus on youth groups. They will provide Leave No Trace knowledge, skills and ethics, model low impact camping and hiking, teach awareness workshops to youth, manage camp sites, monitor and mitigate problems, collect data, perform light trail maintenance and assist emergency personal.

MATC Caretaker and Ridge Runner positions are seasonal, full-time jobs running from June to October.
For more information and to read a brief bio about this summer’s crew, please select the links below:

Thank you to the following organizations for their financial support
of the Caretaker and Ridgerunner program!

Bureau of Parks and Lands
Davis Conservation Fund
L.L. Bean
Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund
Nestle Waters/Poland Spring
Waterman Stewardship Fund