Ever considered applying to become an Open Space and Mountain Parks trail crew member? Beyond the competitive pay, here are nine reasons why should!

Working out in the sun during dry and hot summer days isn't a fun job for most people. But for those interested in outdoor recreation and natural resources, it is! Trail work may not be easy, but there are many rewards.

Applying to join City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) as a trail crew member has been the first step in kickstarting trail crew members' outdoor recreation and natural resource careers. For many, serving on an OSMP trail crew also has helped them to meet new people and make long-time friends! 

If you’ve ever considered applying to become an OSMP trail crew member or are interested in participating in volunteer trail projects, here are nine reasons – beyond competitive pay the City of Boulder offers – why you totally should! 

1. Be outside and away from a computer.

Forget sitting at a desk for 8 hours – you probably won’t be sitting for most of the day. The work is immediately gratifying since you watch everything come together right before your eyes, which don’t have to strain on a computer screen.

2. Have fun! 

Working outdoors during hot and cold days may not be for everyone. However, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience and is why many people serve on OSMP trail crews for multiple years – some even move up to assistant and crew leader roles. The City of Boulder extends its appreciation to all of our trail crew members and welcomes everyone to apply to join our trail crew teams! OSMP invites Boulder-area teenagers who are between 14 to 17 years old to apply to become a Junior Ranger!

3. Make new friends.

Time spent on the trail naturally leads to chit-chat to make the workday more fun. Serving on a trail crew gives everyone a common cause to bond over. Some call it “shared hardship,” while others just call it the natural progression of working with the same people for 8 months. Regardless, most OSMP trail crews find new and long-time friends throughout the season.

4. No experience is necessary (well, not much, really).

While most OSMP trail employees have a background in trails, several crew members this year have never done trail work before. Having a desire to learn and willingness to work hard is the most important quality in potential crew members.

5. Start your career. 

Serving on an OSMP trail crew has helped many to build their resumes and learn professional skills that have helped them throughout their career. For some, being an OSMP trail crew member has led to careers in park management, outdoor education, construction, wildland fire, arboriculture and wilderness guiding. For others, it has helped them to grow their careers within the City of Boulder. See current job opportunities with the City of Boulder!

6. Enjoy wildlife sightings.

Being on the trail first thing in the morning and in remote parts of the system means our crews get to see everything from bears to birds. One crew caught a glimpse of a rare Flammulated Owl on the Ranger Trail. Another crew witnessed a Steller’s Jay imitating a Peregrine Falcon on the 1st/2nd Flatiron trail, a behavior that is still a mystery to ornithologists.

7. Enjoy daily exercise.

Many trail crew members are surprised by what they can accomplish daily. With the right tools and a dose of teamwork, crews can move hundreds of pounds of dirt and rocks each day. You may feel tired, but it can be better than joining a gym!

8. Learn new skills and use specialized tools. 

Trail crew members learn how to build and improve trails. They also learn how Open Space and Mountain Parks works to sustain and improve visitor experiences on city-managed trails while also working to preserve and protect the sensitive wildlife habitats we all care about. At the same time, trail crew members learn how to use important trail tools, including power tools. You can even learn how to use Griphoists (think of a very strong winch designed to lift rocks).

9. Leave a legacy.

The City of Boulder has been building its open space system for generations. Feel the satisfaction of walking on a trail knowing that you helped play an important role in maintaining and improving trails that our community – and future generations – will enjoy for years to come!