The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), founded in 1922, is a nonprofit member supported organization devoted to advocating the protection, stewardship, and responsible use of New York State’s park and Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks and Catskill Mountain regions, as well as across open space lands state wide. The ADK promotes a threefold program of conservation, education, and recreation. The individual employee goals and responsibilities are outlined in the following job description:
JOB TITLE: Summit Steward
LOCATION: Heart Lake Program Center, Lake Placid, New York
RESPONSIBLE TO: Summit Steward Coordinator & Director of Field Programs
JOB DESCRIPTION: The Summit Stewards are employees of the Adirondack Mountain Club. They are responsible for educating the hiking public about the rare and fragile alpine communities of the High Peaks. A Summit Steward’s foremost goal is to encourage hikers to walk on the solid bedrock above timberline, thereby protecting the threatened and endangered flora of the alpine zone. As educators and interpretive naturalists, Summit Stewards teach hikers about:
1. Minimizing impact on alpine summits.
2. The significance of alpine vegetation in the context of the state’s natural heritage.
3. Alpine ecology.
The Summit Steward Program is a cooperative effort of the Adirondack chapter of The Nature Conservancy (ANC), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Adirondack Mountain Club. Funding is provided by ANC, DEC provides in kind support, and ADK provides dollars, in kind support, and program administration. The partners agree to the arrangement in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and contract.
• Through “low-key,” person to person educational contacts on the summits protect the endangered alpine flora by encouraging hikers to walk on the solid bedrock.
• Provide hikers with interpretive education to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the alpine communities. Have information available about the natural history, ecology, and botany of the summits.
• Work to collect population data of state listed alpine plants, which is used to update the database of the New York State Natural Heritage Program.
• Complete alpine trail definition projects which include: (re)building rock cairns & walls and (re)painting trail blazes.
• Encourage hikers to follow DEC regulations, and inform Rangers of trail misuse and emergencies.
• Gather and report use figures from the summits to be incorporated into the High Peaks Unit Management Plan.
• Complete weekly reports.
• The Summit Steward Program shall not be responsible for initiating or conducting backcountry search and rescue operations.
• Participate in the evaluation of the program by preparing a final report that details the season and makes suggestions for the future.
• Supplemental duties/responsibilities to support other club operations, as requested.
• Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively with a diversity of people.
• Commitment to stewardship and environmental education.
• Current enrollment in or completion of an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences.
• A strong knowledge of natural history (especially alpine botany), ecology, and the landscape of the Adirondacks.
• Ability to work with minimal supervision.
• Willingness to provide personal camping equipment.
• Backcountry First-aid certification is recommended.
• Speaking knowledge of French is preferred.
• Excellent physical condition and an ability to climb the High Peaks in a reasonable time, carrying a full pack. Also, tolerance of long hours outdoors, insects, and solitude. Must be willing to live and work outside during adverse weather conditions.
CLASSIFICATION AND WORK SCHEDULE:
• Non-exempt classification
• Full-time, 40 hours per week, seasonal
• The Summit Stewards work a five day on, two day off schedule, including weekends and holidays. They reside in the backcountry during their work week.