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Backcountry Response Teams

Backcountry Response Teams (BCRTs) combine backpacking and trail work for one unforgettable week of volunteering.

A beautiful view along the hike to basecamp. Photo by Karen Story.
A BCRT crew stops for a view on the way to a 2020 BCRT. Photo by Jay Tarife. 

Backpacking + Trail work 

On a BCRT, you'll help your crew complete a trail project that is beyond the reach of a one-day work party. Whether you're clearing downed trees off a remote section of trail, restoring washed-out tread or building a backcountry bridge, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish by the end of the trip!

Led by a skilled WTA crew leader, you'll gain trail skills while working alongside fun folks. And since you camp in the backcountry, you'll be able to spend multiple nights in a remote backcountry setting.  

BCRTs vary in length depending on the project; most are scheduled for 3 to 5 days with some as long as 8 days. Some trips involve a short hike to a basecamp with minimal elevation gain, while others involve hiking as many as 10 or more miles each day with significant elevation gain.

In 2021, BCRTs will be operating under increased safety precautions. See what we're doing to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and work safely together.

Volunteers work together to build up the trail's edge. Photo by Jessi Loerch.
Many hands make light work on a BCRT. Photo by Jessi Loerch. 

Backcountry Response Teams are intended for experienced backpackers in good physical condition who can bring and carry all the gear and food required for multiple nights on the trail. BCRTs are open to anyone 18 years and older. Younger than that? We offer youth between 14 and 18 youth volunteer vacations).

Most folks on BCRTs have prior experience doing trail work. We encourage first time volunteers to join a day work party before signing up for a BCRT.

Questions about a typical day on a BCRT, what to pack or what the crew is like? Get the answers in our FAQ. 

Strenuous BCRTs

A small number of our BCRTs have been designated as "Strenuous" due to the challenging nature of the hike and the work. It could be that the hike to the worksite is especially long or steep or the type of trail work is more advanced or taxing. To participate in a Strenuous BCRT you must first complete an interview with a WTA staff member. 

A volunteer climbs up a steep section of trail on a BCRT. Photo by Ryan Ojerio.
Volunteers climb up a steep section of trail on a BCRT. Photo by Ryan Ojerio.