New River Gorge Climber Steward


Access Fund is the nonprofit advocacy organization that leads and inspires the climbing community toward sustainable access and conservation of the climbing environment.. Founded in 1991, Access Fund promotes sustainable access and conserves the climbing environment for the more than 7 million climbers across the country. We execute on that mission across six core program areas, including Climbing Policy and Advocacy, Stewardship and Conservation, Local Support and Mobilization, Land Acquisition and Protection, Risk Management and Land Owner Support, and Education.

Access Fund is currently seeking two Climber Stewards to connect with and educate visitors, especially climbers, throughout New River Gorge regional climbing areas. The Climber Stewards program is a new addition to Access Fund’s stewardship and education programming. Stewards will work alongside Access Fund, National Park Service staff and New River Alliance of Climbers across the New River Gorge climbing region to connect, inspire, and educate the increasing number of visiting climbers.

Climber Stewards help to serve a critical link between the climbing community and the important messages of Leave No Trace (LNT) and crucial protective ethics and behaviors. Climber Stewards have the opportunity to learn and develop skills in recreation management, resource protection, education and outreach, public land management, and more. If you have a passion for protecting climbing areas and love engaging and educating other climbers, this is your chance to live and explore the New for a season while helping to preserve it for current and future generations.


Climber Stewards play a unique role in the long-term sustainability of recreation in the New River Gorge region. The following represents a sampling of the programming and outreach the Climber Stewards will lead and participate in:

  • Climber Coffee: Host morning events that provide free coffee to climbers at a rotating selection of locations. Climber Stewards will be responsible for event logistics including brewing and serving coffee, setting up a table or booth with information, ensuring flyers are posted for Climber Coffee locations, and engaging with climbers to discuss the latest issues and best practices as they relate to climbing, camping, natural and cultural resources, and other topics.
  • Crag Chats: Visit crags to engage with climbers where they are, while they climb. Climber Stewards will visit different destinations throughout the season to communicate with climbers about current issues and best practices, as well as help facilitate a richer understanding of New River Gorge’s special nature. Stewards are not required to climb.
  • Volunteerism: Support the breadth of stewardship-oriented projects throughout the New by participating in and communicating volunteer opportunities to visiting climbers.


  • A passion for the New River Gorge and its protection.
  • Knowledge of New River Gorge climbing areas and history.
  • Willingness to attend LNT and other trainings as necessary.
  • Access to a reliable vehicle.
  • Willingness to camp and live in or near NRG for the season (see below) in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Strong verbal communication and presentation skills.
  • Outgoing personality and commitment to sharing education messages.
  • Passion for climbing area stewardship, education, and advocacy.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Self-motivated, with an ability to work independently and side-by-side with partner organizations.
  • Motivated to join Access Fund on our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) journey and learn how to make our climbing areas accessible to all.


  • Clean driving record and valid driver’s license.
  • Satisfactory completion of a background check.
  • Proof of current COVID-19 vaccination or qualified exemption.
  • Ability to walk/hike on uneven, loose, and steep terrain.
  • Ability to lift and move up to 35 pounds.

Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Experience with public speaking, outreach, and education.
  • Knowledge of local flora and fauna.
  • Knowledge of local history.
  • Familiarity with best practices for protecting natural resources as well as cultural and historic values.
  • LNT & Wilderness First Aid Certifications.


The 2022 Steward season will run from May 6th through October 30th, 2022 (25 weeks) and will begin with several days of training and orientation. Climber Stewards will be expected to work 30 hours per week, including weekends and possible evenings. We are looking for individuals who will commit to the entire season and who may have an interest in subsequent seasons.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a temporary, seasonal position. Access Fund will provide:

  • Hourly pay of $15.
  • First aid and Leave No Trace training.
  • Free camping for the duration of the season, if needed.
  • Opportunity to apply for industry pro deals.
  • This position is not benefits-eligible.


Access Fund will navigate this situation utilizing the best available national and local guidance. We are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, board, volunteers, and supporters. Meanwhile, Access Fund will continue to operate at the fullest capacity possible to further our mission to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment. Currently, all Access Fund employees are working remotely. Stay tuned to our news channel for further updates.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume with “New River Climber Steward” in the subject line to [email protected] by EOD Monday April 4. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the position is open until filled.

Access Fund is an equal opportunity employer, compliant with all federal and applicable laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. Access Fund provides employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability.