Just accepted a Junior Ranger job? Finished your season and looking for what's next? Or, just want to dive deeper into the Junior Ranger Program and what we do? Read on to learn more!

I just accepted a position as a Junior Ranger! What do I need to know?

Complete City of Boulder paperwork!

Now that you've accepted your Junior Ranger job offer, you’ll need to check your email daily for important information on how to complete your hiring paperwork. There’s a lot of it – but we are here to help you.

  • First-year Junior Rangers will need to attend a 1 hour employment paperwork training on May 12 between 4-8 pm or May 17 between 4-8 pm in person at 2520 55th St. Boulder, CO. At this session, we will help you complete all of your City of Boulder paperwork.
  • Returning Junior Rangers will need to attend a 30 minute paperwork check-out on May 12 between 4-8pm, or May 17 between 4-8pm in person at 2520 55th St. Boulder, CO. We will answer questions, help you finish your paperwork, and review to make sure everything is completed correctly.

Expectations while at Work

Junior Ranger positions are very competitive and very publicly visible. Our crews have lots of fun, but they also work hard. By accepting a position as a Junior Ranger, you agree to follow the Junior Ranger Code of Conduct PDF and demonstrate respect and a positive attitude towards the public, your crew, and yourself.

Work Schedule and Absences

Junior Rangers are expected to arrive on time for work prepared for the day. Trail crews work Tuesday through Friday 8 am – 3:30 pm and Youth Ranger crews work Monday through Thursday 8 am – 4 pm. There is a half hour unpaid lunch break during the day.

Junior Rangers make a commitment to work all days of their assigned session. Junior Rangers must get any absences preapproved by the Youth Service Learning Coordinator two weeks in advance. Please plan your vacations and commitments accordingly. Report emergency absences by 7 am via email to juniorrangers@bouldercolorado.gov.

Getting to Work

Junior Rangers must have a reliable way of getting to work each day. There is ample parking for bikes in our locked garage. The RTD bus system has a bus stop right in front of the Wonderland Lake Trailhead on Broadway, our meeting place. Seasonal youth bus passes are available through RTD www.rtd-denver.com. The program will reimburse Junior Rangers for passes purchased for the period of employment (monthly pass or ticket books) with receipt. Reimbursement information will be provided at point of hire.

Getting Paid

All staff are paid on a bi-weekly basis with a 3-week delay from their start date. All City of Boulder employees must have a social security number before they begin work. All paychecks will be processed via direct deposit. It's a good idea to set up a personal bank account for yourself now, if you do not yet have one. Contact us if you have questions about how to do this.

What to Wear

You will need a few specific personal items to be comfortable and safe at work. All Junior Rangers wear long pants, approved work/hiking boots (a stipend will be provided), a uniform t-shirt (provided on your first day), and work gloves. You will need to carry with you in a backpack your lunch, water for the day, rain gear and sunscreen. A safety helmet will also be provided for use during your job.

Refer to the Personal Equipment List PDF and Pant and Boot Recommendations PDF to help you prepare for work.

Bad Weather Policy

Weather in Colorado can be changeable. Summer conditions are prone to afternoon thunderstorms. If conditions become unsafe for work, crews will secure a safe area in which to wait until the weather clears. If the weather changes such that work will not be able to be continued, crews will be dismissed before 3:30pm. This occurs only rarely. Crews will return to the Foothills Nature Center for dismissal.

Staff can be available to shuttle participants home who rely on a parent or guardian for their transportation. Junior Rangers are paid for hours worked and will not be paid past the dismissal time on bad weather cancellation days.

If weather conditions warrant work being cancelled before the start of the work day, a text message notification will be sent to all employees, and any parents who have opted into the text notification service.


Working on Natural Resource Projects (50%)

  • Completes trail maintenance and other resource management projects including corridor clearing, erosion control, trail structure repair, integrated pest management, restoration and more (primarily Conservation/Trail crews).
  • Organizes and delivers multiple environmental education programs to the public (Youth Ranger crew only).
  • Learns and applies skills such as: trail maintenance, naturalist training, wildland fire ecology, leadership and public service, natural resource/visitor protection, wildlife ecology, habitat restoration, and customer service.

Safety & Professionalism (30%)

  • Follows rules, regulations and policies; helps to maintain safety, order, and discipline of self and other participants.
  • Reports and takes responsibility for mistakes and/or accidents.
  • Demonstrates knowledge or willingness to learn about racial equity and inclusion.

Actively Learning and Supporting Peers as a Team Player (20%)

  • Works as part of a team; and participates in learning opportunities.
  • Openly shares successes and challenges; and seeks to understand all aspects of a project or skill.

Crews are expected to work in all-weather if it is safe for the crew and non-detrimental to the trail. If weather is severe and persistent, the program also elects the option to cancel work for the day and notify staff accordingly; however, this is a highly rare occurrence.

If staff arrive late to work due to weather conditions, without pre-approval, the late arrival is treated in the same fashion as a late arrival on any other workday. There may be an option to make up the time by flexing hours at the discretion of the Youth Service Learning Coordinator—either by staying late or coming in early another day. Otherwise, the missed hours will come out of reported hours.

Yes. All Junior Rangers receive a W2 via email to the email address we have on file from your application. The password to the PDF is the last 4 digits of your SSN.

We’ve heard from many people with gmail accounts that the email was sent to their spam folder, and that if you did not rescue it from spam within 30 days, it was automatically deleted. If you have not received your W2 by the end of February, please double check your spam folder, and then reach out to us if you still do not see it: juniorrangers@bouldercolorado.gov.

JR Alumni - How to Stay Involved!

Help Us Organize an Alumni Event

Reach out to Natasha and help us plan a JR Alumni Event! Alumni events help keep our community strong, inform you of possible job opportunities, and are just a fun way to reconnect with your lifelong friends from JR!

Ideas for possible events we could plan together:

  • Group hike
  • Coffee or hot cocoa meet up
  • Group art project
  • Alumni volunteer project on the trails or land
  • JR alumni video project
  • OR...Any other ideas welcome!

Come back to share your story with a crew!

Junior Rangers learn best from inspiring adults who were recently in their shoes. Come back and join a crew for lunch or an afternoon, and share your story - the college courses you're taking, the career path you're on, an internship you've taken, or a study abroad program you've experienced.

Apply as a Crew Lead!

We couldn't run this program without you... come back and share your love of OSMP & the land with the next generation of Junior Rangers! Applications for staff positions typically open in early January, and will be linked on the main page.

Try out another program in Boulder County!

Check out this awesome list of other opportunities near us: Other Youth Program Links

Come back and volunteer with us!

Explore the Junior Ranger Program in-depth

Junior Ranger Program Mission

“The Junior Ranger Program creates an enriching work experience dedicated to preserving land through trail maintenance, stewardship and resource management service. Through our work, we foster awareness, knowledge and respect for natural and human communities while cultivating personal growth.”

Program History

Junior Rangers join a long legacy of service to OSMP. Established in 1965 to create jobs for young people and help them develop work skills while maintaining Boulder’s public lands, the Junior Ranger Program has now employed over 4,000 youth. Since then, the program has built a legacy of community stewards who have a personal investment in the future of OSMP and all public lands. Graduates of the program carry their experience into the future by seeking future jobs in conservation, motivating siblings and friends to serve in the program, returning to OSMP as full-time staff, or continuing their experience as Junior Ranger Program staff.

The Junior Ranger program develops lifelong stewards of the natural world. Through daily conservation work, Junior Rangers gain a sense of awareness for the natural world and accomplishment for a job well done. They build the confidence to give back to their communities through collaboration, decision making, responsibility, reflection, and service.