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USFS Packer Internship


This position is an internship with the US Forest Service, the Backcountry Horsemen of California, and the Shasta Trinity Unit in the Shasta-Trinity Forest

This is an internship with the US Forest Service, the Backcountry Horsemen of California, and the Shasta Trinity Unit in the Shasta-Trinity Forest

Hourly Rate
$16.95-$18.96, based on experience


Position Summary


The mission of this program is to recruit and train an Intern that may become part of the new generation of highly skilled packers, trail workers, wilderness managers and volunteers that have a strong desire to protect our public lands, while preserving traditional wilderness skills and maintaining accessibility.

This is an all-inclusive training program in the use of pack stock as a traditional tool, humane stock handling and packing procedures. Mule and horsemanship as well as safety, are the cornerstones that this training is based on. Also included in the program is; Leave No Trace (LNT) practices for stock users, wilderness management, trail maintenance and all the details that go into a safe, productive and efficient packing operation. 

The Packer Intern will develop the skills and knowledge to help perpetuate the commonsense use of horses in America’s backcountry and wilderness and will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use; whether as an employee of the agencies, or as a private citizen.


Doing, Assisting and Observing on the job

• Feeding and watering of stock

• Cleaning yards, corrals, trailers and equipment

• Building and facilities maintenance

• Building and maintaining corrals and fences

• Irrigating pastures

• Trail maintenance

• Assisting wilderness managers and wilderness rangers

• Shopping for trail crews

• Making up pack loads

• Loading and unloading trucks

• Hauling hay

• Saddling riding and pack stock

• Packing and unpacking mules

• Leading stock / pack strings

• Camping in the wilderness

• Campsite restoration

• Doctoring animals

• Making and maintaining equipment

• Assisting regional packers, if the opportunity occurs with Fire packing operations (limited to certain duties not requiring a USFS Red Card)

• Other duties as required

Qualifications for applicants

• Must be a US citizen, national or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States.

• No felony convictions.

• Have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record.

• Have a CDL or be willing and able to get one.

• Ability to ride a variety of saddle animals.

Job Requirements

• Be physically fit

• Willing to take directions and follow instructions

• Able to work well with other people

• Positive work experience history

• Desire to learn and achieve a high level of competence

• Able to work independently and complete assigned tasks

• Agrees to work as an ambassador for Backcountry Horseman as requested

Preferred Qualifications and Abilities

• Able to work with hands

• Experience working with tools

• Experience with trail tools and working on trails

• Valid CDL

• Ability to be resourceful

• Experience with shoeing and doctoring animals

• Hiking and camping experience

• History of volunteering

• Worked as a trail guide or camp counselor

• Experience with ranch work

• Experience with pulling trailers

• Experience working with pack stock

• A desire to work for a Public Agency i.e., Forest Service, BLM, National Parks, Fish & Wildlife


The Packer Intern will be responsible to report to the Lead Animal Packer or Wilderness Manager, or other supervisor deemed to be in charge for direction and assignments prior to performing tasks on National Forest Land. The Packer Intern does not make independent judgments and decisions, and works under direct supervision. The applicant must be able to function safely in the wilderness for up to 10 days at a time. The Packer Intern is highly visible in the backcountry and needs to be an ambassador for all involved parties and conduct themselves in a positive and professional manner at all times. Daily work hours will generally be 8 hours per day, 5 days a week and members will be required to perform tasks and chores outside of their normal project work hours.

Physical Effort

The work involves extensive walking, hiking and bending. Requires lifting of heavy gear, equipment, tools, pack equipment, and side loads of up to 80 pounds each. Requires significant upper body strength to hold side loads in position while hitching to pack saddles with ropes. Requires lifting, loading and carrying bales of hay up to 125 pounds each. Requires working longer than normal hours due to travel time and care of the animals. Requires good physical stamina and strength in arms, back and legs. Requires the ability to ride mules or horses 8 to 10 hours daily. At times requires long-distance driving pulling trailers for regional packing assignments.


Housing will be provided by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

This is a 14-WEEK position, May through August.

Pay range is $16.95-$18.96, based on experience.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the position, please email

More information is available on the CCCF website at


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