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Junior Ranger Program

"Before I came to the Junior Ranger program, I wasn’t excited to go on hikes and be out in nature; however, after working hard with my fellow crewmembers on and off trail, I’ve gained an appreciation for the ecosystem and the trails and how much work it takes to maintain their beauty. I’m proud to have worked on such a great crew to do something that everyone can appreciate, and I hope to be back again." – Brennen, 1st Year Junior Ranger

The Junior Ranger Program is the overarching name for two crew types. Applicants can choose between the Youth Ranger Crew or the Conservation/Trail Crews.  

News Feed: Stay up to date with what’s going on!

Youth Volunteer Projects this Fall!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out for one (or many!) of our volunteer projects on trails this summer. We finished repairs on a section of the Mesa trail, supported the new Mesa re-route, built rock steps on a more sustainable climbing access trail, and more! We so appreciate your hard work and value the time you dedicated to volunteering on the trails.

But we’re not done yet! Youth volunteer projects are set to continue through the rest of September and October, weather permitting. We will host a youth volunteer project every Monday morning (9AM – 1 PM) in September and October. These projects will work on the Prairie Vista trail and potentially other urgent OSMP needs – like planting seeds, managing vegetation, repairs to other trails, or supporting our agriculture workgroup.

On Saturday, September 26 (9AM – 1 PM), to celebrate National Public Lands Day, we’ll be hosting another volunteer project open to middle school and high school aged students. Volunteers will be putting the finishing touches on the Mesa trail reroute, in conjunction with an adult volunteer project running at the same time. This is a great opportunity to invite your family (including younger siblings!) and friends to see what kind of work goes into building and maintaining the beloved trails in Boulder every season!

Check out these volunteer opportunities, and more, on Count Me In Boulder. Group sizes are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, so sign up soon!


  • 4/17/2020 JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAM CANCELLED FOR 2020: We know that this will be profoundly disappointing to you, as we understand how much our dedicated Junior Rangers look forward to this job opportunity every summer. Believe us, we are heartbroken too. Please read this letter pdf for more information about the decision, and 3 minutes to fill out this form to let us know how we can serve you during this time (virtual skill building, volunteer events, other ideas).
  • 4/14/20: It’s been almost a month since we last provided you with an update, and we wanted you to know that we’re still thinking about you! We hope you and your family are healthy and well. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our community, city, and world much more deeply and seriously than any of us anticipated. The financial impact to the City is significant, and will likely have far-reaching impacts for much longer than we had hoped. Unfortunately, we don’t have any clear updates about the Junior Ranger Program at this time. Based on the statewide stay-at-home extension, the extended city closure, and today’s City of Boulder furloughs, Junior Ranger operations are still on hold until further notice. We continue to monitor the situation closely, and are awaiting further guidance from the City.
  • 3/19/20: ALL HIRING ON HOLD: The City of Boulder is working diligently to respond to community needs as news changes daily regarding COVID-19. It is still too soon to make any decisions on whether or not the Junior Ranger Program will run this summer, but the City has asked us to begin a temporary hold on ALL hiring effective immediately (including Junior Ranger Team Members) until we know more about how this virus will affect our community. We will be assessing the ability to run a Junior Ranger program under these extraordinary circumstances. If we are able to run the program, we will reopen the Junior Ranger Team Member application. Please continue to check this site in the coming weeks for updates.


  • Earth Month Do-From-Home-Activities: On a happier note, April is Earth Month (April 22nd is the official Earth Day) and this year marks the 50th anniversary of this special day! Numerous organizations have worked hard to put together some incredible online, virtual Earth Day celebrations including Do-It-By-Yourself earth actions, famous speakers, hip hop artists, virtual gatherings and much more – some happening as you read this. We hope you’ll find something of interest in the list below, and continue to make a Junior Ranger impact from the safety of your home and neighborhood.
  • Earth Month Activities

    Take on an Earth Day Eco Challenge – at home! (April) Complete “Eco Challenges” during Earth Month- April! Check out our Junior Rangers Eco-Team to stay connected and see how many points we can collect over the next three weeks! Join our team at this link and see what a difference your individual actions can make!


  • Junior Ranger W2s were sent out via email beginning on Thursday 1/30. Junior Ranger W2s go straight to  their  email addresses (not parents). Please have your Junior Ranger check their personal email, including spam and junk folders – as it will often get routed there. Some email services (especially gmail) will purge spam folders frequently so please check soon to make sure that you don’t miss it!
  • W2s come from payroll at and will have “HIGH IMPORTANCE – IMPORTANT TAX RETURN DOCUMENT AVAILABLE” in the Subject line.

Who We Are

The Junior Ranger Program is an opportunity for teens ages 14 to 17 years old to be employed by the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department to work on a variety of natural resource projects. 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.

What We Do

Since 1965, hardworking and dedicated Junior Rangers complete trail maintenance and construction, forestry, vegetation, and ecological restoration projects across OSMP lands. Junior Rangers are led by exceptional, well-trained support staff, learn critical work skills, explore OSMP, support department goals, and serve the Boulder community. Through the Junior Ranger Program, employees also receive career and leadership development as they work beside project sponsors and natural resource professionals and attend organized talks and trainings with department staff. Exposure to these management practices combined with environmental educational presentations, develop lifelong stewards.

A Day in the Life of a Junior Ranger

“This program teaches youth the skills necessary to be effective, responsible leaders and stewards of our natural resources.”

Be a Junior Ranger

Junior Ranger Program cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts. Recruitment for 2021 – please check back in February for updated information.

Lead a Junior Ranger

Junior Ranger Program cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts. Recruitment for 2021 – please check back in February for updated information.