Monticello Field Office

Volunteering at Cedar Mesa 

Volunteer positions available at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station are as Backcountry Rangers/Recreation Technicians and are limited by budgetary and housing constraints.  Included is more detailed information about the position and volunteer program to aid in your application and consideration of the position.                                                                                                                                                        

Comb Ridge

Who We Are:

The Kane Gulch Ranger Station is a remote federal field outpost and operational base for visitor contact, recreation use authorizations, and resource monitoring for the Cedar Mesa Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA).


The 400,000 acre Cedar Mesa Plateau is an area with identified high value archaeological, recreational, and wilderness resources.  Within these Wilderness Study Areas is some of the most spectacular canyon country scenery and archaeology found anywhere in the southwest.  The primary uses throughout the area are camping, hiking, and archaeological research; along with fuel wood cutting, hunting, and cattle grazing on the mesa top.


The ranger station is in operation from March to mid-November of each year.  The Cedar Mesa Plateau and the Kane Gulch Ranger Station are administered by the United States, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Monticello Field Office, located in Monticello, Utah.



Volunteer Ranger Duties & Responsibilities:  

There are 2-3 BLM seasonal backcountry rangers stationed at Kane Gulch with 1-4 volunteer backcountry rangers.  Volunteer rangers assist the BLM backcountry rangers as needed.  Since there are only 1-3 rangers at the station at any one time, everyone is expected to perform all necessary duties, including patrols, visitor contacts, and maintenance.


Volunteer work includes extensive hiking and overnight backpacking; staffing the ranger station (issuing permits, selling books and maps, informing visitors of rules and regulations and trail and water conditions); light maintenance (regular cleaning of public restrooms and the ranger station, maintaining trailhead bulletin boards and register boxes, installing signs, etc.  Volunteers may also be involved in collecting field data and assisting trail maintenance projects.  Rangers often work in pairs, but may be expected to work independently.


Work Schedule: 

Volunteers must make a minimum commitment of 2 pay periods, each consisting of 2 weeks, or a total of 4 weeks of service.  During a pay period (2 weeks), volunteers will be on duty for 10 days and off duty for 4 days.  The work day is 8 hours and the hours are generally from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.  The schedule is always subject to change and may be adjusted for special needs.


Necessary Skills & Requirements:

  • Communication skills – Ability to understand visitor questions and concerns and give clear, concise answers and directions.  Must be able to conduct self in a cheerful, polite, professional manner under stressful conditions.
  • Flexibility – With a small staff working in an extremely remote location, duties and schedules can change by the day, and sometimes, by the hour.  All seasonal rangers and volunteer rangers at the ranger station are on 24 hour call for emergencies, such as route closures or search and rescue assistance.
  • Ability to get along with co-workers and work with varied personalities.  Must be willing and able to discuss and resolve problems in a constructive and non-violent manner as they arise.
  • Willingness to learn new working styles and techniques and to educate self on the local terrain and cultural and natural resources.
  • Self-sufficient – Must be able to live and work alone in a remote location.  Volunteers must provide a personal vehicle to transport themselves to town and other destinations while off duty.
  • Must be in good physical condition and be able to hike long distances while carrying a pack over rough terrain and in varied weather conditions.
  • Orienteering skills – Must be experienced in reading topographic maps, using a compass, and following directions.
  • Volunteers must have U.S. Citizenship, a valid driver’s license, and a good driving record.
  • Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age or be accompanied by a legal guardian.

Helpful Additional Skills:

  • First Aid/CPR, Emergency First Response, Wilderness First Responder, or other advanced medical training
  • Mechanical or carpentry skills
  • Environmental education and interpretation skills
  • Ability to speak a foreign language
  • Writing skills
  • Search and Rescue skills
  • Trail maintenance skills
  • Knowledge of local terrain and cultural or natural resources 

Living Conditions:

All of the backcountry rangers are housed at the ranger station.  The Kane Gulch Ranger Station is not a convenient place to live, but with the right personal skills and attitude, it can usually be pleasant.  The station is primitive and remote, situated 10 miles south of Natural Bridges National Monument and 35 miles west of Blanding, UT, a full service community.


Travel trailers are provided for housing.  For several months in early spring and late fall, there is no running water at the station.  Water must then be carried to the trailers by 5 gallon jugs.  A photovoltaic system (solar power) is the only source of electricity and is therefore limited.


The ranger station has a radio and cell phone for emergency use only.  It is a Verizon cell tower, therefore Verizon and ALLTEL phone services can call out from the ranger station only.  The nearest pay phones are at Natural Bridges National Monument.  Due to local topography, personal cell phones may not work well on the mesa top.  There is no television or internet access.


Weather Conditions:

The climate of the area is typical of a high desert environment, with approximately 10 inches of average annual rainfall.  Temperatures and weather patterns will vary.


In March and April, daytime temperatures can range from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures as low as 15 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spring snow storms are not uncommon.


During the month of May, temperatures continue to rise and peak in mid-summer with daytime temperatures ranging from 80 to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures around 50 degrees.  Late summer brings a pattern of afternoon thunderstorms, locally known as monsoons.


During the fall months, daytime temperatures can range widely from 60 to above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degrees.  Toward the end of October, temperatures drop and typical cold winter weather patterns begin to set in.


What We Will Provide:

  • Housing:  A travel trailer with basic cooking and cleaning utensils.  The trailers are small but adequate.
  • Uniform:  BLM volunteer uniform shirts, hat, and fleece will be provided.  Uniforms will be worn while on duty and may not be worn while off duty.
  • Government Vehicle:  A government vehicle will be provided for work related duties.
  • Address:  The BLM has a mailbox near the Natural Bridges turn off.  The box number will be provided before your arrival.
  • Tools:  Tools for work, leather gloves, and some camping equipment will be provided.

Volunteers must provide their own personal vehicle, food, and all other personal needs not listed above; proper clothing, hiking boots, linens, etc.  A full checklist of needs and additional information will be provided after your volunteer application has been accepted.


The Next Step:

Complete a volunteer application in as much detail as possible.  Please include specific dates for which you may be available to volunteer and any special needs you may have.  If additional space is needed, you may attach additional sheets to the form.  Mail or fax your application to:


Silas Sparks

Volunteer Coordinator

BLM - Monticello Field Office

P.O. Box 7

Monticello, UT 84535


Fax: (435) 587-1518


If you have any questions regarding your application, please contact Silas Sparks at (435) 587-1504 or by e-mail at  


If your application has been accepted, you will receive a letter stating the dates for which you will be volunteering, along with a packet of detailed information with contact names and numbers.


Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Bureau of Land Management.