The 1983 Volunteer Service Agreement (VSA) between the National Park Service, A.T. clubs, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) enables you as a volunteer doing field work to be covered by the Volunteers in the Park provisions. This entitles you to the same protections that government employees receive in the case of work-related injuries or tort issues, provided you are working within the scope of your duties.

Overview of VSA Features:

The VSA includes several requirements previously adopted by the MATC and should be completed for each work trip:

  • Check-in/Check-out Policy – This lets someone know where you are, when you plan to be back, and includes instructions on who they should contact if you don’t return when planned.
  • Emergency Response Plan – This form helps plan a response if someone is injured or has a medical issue and documents the location of the nearest hospital prior to the trip. It is focused on group activities but has information useful to an individual as well.
  • Trip Reporting – Our online trip reporting which we all currently utilize on our website, will continue to be used for trip reporting and a copy of the report will automatically be sent to ATC.

The VSA includes several volunteer training references which we encourage everyone to become familiar with. Click on the following links to find and read the documents.

  • Trail Safe! videos available on the ATC website.
  • Job Hazard Analyses for the various trail tasks we undertake when maintaining the trail or on trail projects. This may also be found at the ATC website. This document should be reviewed prior to each work trip.
  • Volunteer Service Descriptions. This document may also bear frequent review to keep the concepts top-of-mind.

Steps to complete your compliance: (required every 5 years)

(1)  Read the following documents (click on the links):

(2a)  If you are 18 years of age or older then sign this Agreement electronically by clicking this link:

  • Upon ‘submitting’ the online form, exit the page – nothing more need be done.
  • The Agreement will be valid for 5 years from the date of your signature.

Click image for VSA form 18 years and older

(2b) If you are a minor (under 18) then you must complete this form with a parent/guardian as follows:

  • Save the form to your device.
  • The form is a fillable PDF form. Open it with a browser or software of your choice.
  • The first page contains instructions on completing the form.
  • Submit the completed form via email to Tom Gorrill at

Click image for VSA form Minors – Under 18 years old

For Trip Leaders:

If you are a work trip leader needing to check on your volunteer’s VSA compliance, then click on this link to enter a query.

Revised: 4/1/2024