Trail Team Volunteer

Iceland Forest Service

Thórsmörk, Iceland

Volunteer • Full Time Chas Goemans

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Wednesday, 31st January 2018  

Group 1: 03/06/18 – 14/07/18
Group 2: 22/07/18 – 01/09/18

The Iceland Forest Service (Skógræktin) coordinates trail maintenance and wilderness management projects with international volunteers in Thórsmörk, Goðaland and beyond.

No previous experience of trail construction work is necessary as practical training will be provided. We are looking for participants who have some experience of camping and hill walking, enjoy wilderness landscapes and are ready for a challenge. Iceland’s notoriously changeable weather means that our teams have to be well prepared with warm clothing, good waterproofs and sturdy tents. Due to the strenuous nature of our work, participants must be physically fit and as many of our work sites are in remote locations, we do a lot of hiking to get to them!

Our international volunteer teams include volunteers from all over the world and the working language on the programme is English. Participants must be 20+ years of age. Participants organise and pay their own travel to and from the meeting point in Thórsmörk and are also responsible for organising their own travel insurance. Once volunteers have joined the programme, food and campsites are provided throughout the placements (including weekends). There is no participation fee.

Our work 

The work we do can be divided into two main parts; trail maintenance and erosion control. The trail maintenance work involves a huge variety of practical tasks including improving drainage, building steps with timber or stone, resurfacing trails with gravel and installing signs. Hand tools including rock bars and stone carriers are used for much of the work but machinery is brought in to support the teams were access allows. Our volunteers work alongside Forest Service staff who cut timber for the trail construction tasks. Trail marking is an important part of our work as it helps to prevent damage to fragile areas and improve safety for visitors. Way-markers for the trails are made on site from locally sourced timber.

The Forest Service is currently developing a new system of trail mapping in Thórsmörk. The Pathfinder project combines GIS mapping and photographs with a quality grading system. We have also introduced a numbering system for the trail markers in the area which helps to improve safety on the trails. This mapping work is now being extended to include sites throughout the area.

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