What does it mean to be an ITA crew leader? 

Our volunteer crew leaders are the heartbeat of ITA. With over 70 volunteer trail projects in 2023 alone, we rely on their generosity of time and willingness to share their skills for the benefit of Idaho’s public trails. Think you want to be a crew leader but have questions or reservations? Here’s some information to help: 

  • Leaders do not have to be experts at trail work, backpacking, or be uber-fit lumberjacks who can chop logs off trails all day! The most important qualities are a basic level of experience with trail work, good communication skills, and camping or backpacking (depending on the trip you lead; our trips vary from one-day projects in the Boise Foothills to extended backpacking adventures). 
  • Leaders typically (but not always) start out as ITA volunteers who realize they love the work and camaraderie of a trail project. Once someone expresses interest, we ask that they go out as a “deputy” leader, shadowing and assisting a more experienced leader to give them a chance to observe and ask questions. 
  • ITA requires leaders to be certified in First Aid and CPR. We offer classes in the spring and fall (typically Sandpoint and Boise). We also require leaders attend one of our spring trainings, Crew Leader Education and Mentoring (CLEM). Here, leaders become certified in crosscut saw use through a Forest Service-approved training program and learn about all aspects of leading a project. It’s also an awesome place to network with other leaders. We eat well, laugh, and learn a lot at these spring weekend trainings. 
  • Committing to leading does not mean signing every summer away! Some leaders take on just a day or two a year while others lead three-week trips. It is a flexible commitment that can vary from year to year, depending on one’s schedule and availability. 

  • You never know the impact you could have. We’ve had leaders inspire youth to pursue trail crew jobs, heard from parents saying their youth came back with new confidence, adults who took up hiking because of a leader, and leaders who became leaders because of….other leaders! Stories of volunteers inspired by leaders are common and we love it. 
  • We need special programs leaders. Currently, we have youth, women, and veterans programs and need leaders for each of these. Are you a teacher with some time during the summer who’d like to inspire the next generation of public land stewards? A veteran who’d like to help other veterans connect with the outdoors? A woman who’d like to inspire other women to get outside? We need you! 
  • We need leaders to grow! Having enough leaders is one of our biggest limiting factors in clearing more trails in more places. Our existing leaders are awesome and dedicated but can only lead so many trips.  
  • Our leaders value safety, welcome people of all backgrounds, and like to have FUN while sharing a hard day’s work with a crew of volunteers. 
  • If you are interested in learning more about becoming a crew leader but aren’t quite ready to commit, please reach out to trails@idahotrailsassociation.org with questions or to schedule a time to talk with staff.