Season: April 3–October 13, 2023
Location: Silver Falls State Park, Sublimity, Oregon (60 miles from Portland, Oregon)
Compensation: $3,300 average monthly salary; 7 days PTO
Perks: Meals provided while working/Basic housing on site/Staff housing in greater Portland/Salem area for subsidized rate (optional)
Programs: Opal Creek Outdoor School (spring/fall); Opal Creek Expeditions (summer/fall)
Work schedule: ODS: Mondays-Fridays (no overnight), averaging 8 hrs/day; EXP: Sundays-Fridays (includes overnight): 2 weeks on, 1 week off (always Saturdays off)
As an outdoor guide, your classroom will be the forests, creeks, and waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park, Oregon’s most beloved and largest state park and the ancestral home of the Kalapuya and Molalla Tribes. Working with mainly 5th/6th graders over the course of a 3-day, 2-night program, you’ll teach inquiry-based lessons developed with guidance from Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, The Avarna Group equity consultants, and The BEETLES Project. By the end of their time with you, students will strengthen their relationships with nature, the land, and each other – understanding that these relationships exist within an interconnected system.
As an expeditions guide, you lead educational, fun, and safe backpacking trips via our Opal Creek Expeditions program. Small groups of youth ages 10-17 traverse miles of backcountry trail, summit ridgelines and peaks, and visit subalpine lakes and streams, all with you and one other guide as their leaders. As you teach the ins and outs of backpacking you’ll see each child’s confidence grow—in their skills and in themselves.
Qualifications, Skills, and Experiences
A successful candidate will possess these minimum qualifications. We are less interested in the titles you’ve held and more interested in what you’ve actually done and who you are.
- 1+ seasons/school years teaching experience, formal or informal
- 1+ seasons backcountry guiding experience
- 1+ seasons working with youth
- Backpacking experience, personal/professional
- Strong group leadership and management skills
- Strong communication skills
- Navigation and backcountry cooking skills
- Previous experience with equity, inclusion, and cultural relevance, and integrating into youth programming
- Previous backcountry medical experience
- COVID-19 vaccine (by time of employment)
- Able to lead groups on hikes up to 10 miles with heavy packs
- Able to pass a criminal background check
- Valid driver’s license
How to Apply
Please submit an application by visiting the employment page of our website. The application includes a series of questions and asks you to upload a detailed resume in PDF format. Be sure to include any relevant experience and certifications, both professional and personal experience.
Priority will be given to applications received by February 10, 2023 and on a rolling basis onward. There are two rounds of interviews conducted in February. We anticipate hiring five guides, and the start date is April 3, 2023.
Please contact [email protected] with any questions and to request any accommodations needed during this hiring process. We’ll do our best to respond to all queries and to keep all applicants up to date on how the process unfolds.
About Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center was formed in 1988 to advocate for the protection of the Opal Creek area. In 1996, legislation established the Opal Creek Wilderness Area and instituted our unique role and responsibility as stewards, educators, and in-holders within the protected area. Our base of operations has been in the historic mining town of Jawbone Flats, situated in the stunning temperate rainforest of the Opal Creek Wilderness and surrounded by 5,000-foot peaks. This region is ancestral lands of the Molalla and Kalapuya Tribes, who are now part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
In September 2020, a wildfire swept down the Opal Creek watershed, burned much of the old growth forest in the Wilderness Area, and destroyed almost all of the historic buildings of Jawbone Flats. Our post-fire strategy for Jawbone Flats is focused tightly on recovery and cleanup. We are designing a new site plan that is in harmony with the land and will support the amazing education programs we continue to offer.
Our mission is to provide transformative wilderness experiences that grow a community of environmental advocates. All our work is based around one simple idea: people protect what they care about, and care about what they know. Through our outdoor school and backpacking expedition programs, we bring youth and adults face-to-face with the outdoor places that make Oregon great—pristine mountain streams, uncut vistas, and old-growth forests—because nature is the best classroom.