Advertising: Volunteer Caretaker
American Prairie is seeking volunteers to caretake on the spectacular 73 property. This is an ideal opportunity for an individual or couple who love to explore remote landscapes and spend time outdoors. While there are opportunities to engage with public visitors and American Prairie staff, this is a unique chance to unplug and connect with nature.
American Prairie’s 73 property is located along the lower Musselshell River in a remote region of northcentral Montana. This historic property borders the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and is home to abundant wildlife, including a significant elk population. The property contains a great variety of terrain, from riparian areas and cottonwood groves along the river, to steep uplands with ponderosa forests, and open valleys. American Prairie represents a unique effort to assemble a multi-million-acre area to conserve the species-rich grasslands of Montana’s Great Plains for wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of the public.
The position comes with housing (which may occasionally be shared with itinerant American Prairie staff) or the provision for parking a camping trailer. The property is accessed via 25 miles of gravel and unimproved road which becomes impassable when wet and requires an AWD or 4WD vehicle. The volunteer role will have access to recreate on the property (hike, bike, hunt, fish) throughout their service.
A stipend of $300 per month and mileage reimbursement are provided along with workers’ compensation.
The Dates and Expectations
The position is from late August through late November, 2022. Work time is somewhat flexible considering the primary duty is to monitor activity on the land, specifically hunting and people/wildlife interaction. It is generally 30 hours per week, typically 6 hours per day in a split shift of 7-10am and 3-6pm. Days off, including away from the property, are permitted. While living on and enjoying the property, the expectation is awareness of surroundings and regular and frequent monitoring including walking, biking or driving the property. This is not an enforcer role; it is a monitoring role with reporting expectations.
• Monitor hunter activity and report public hunting and access regulatory infractions to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MT FWP) staff and supervisor.
• Monitor buildings and property reporting damage, issues or unusual activity to supervisor.
• Monitor road use on the property reporting damage, issues or unusual activity to supervisor.
• Positively engage public visitors to provide information and answer questions as opportunities present themselves.
• Provide monitoring and reporting on wildlife especially people-wildlife interactions.
• Complete property and building maintenance if interested and possessing necessary skillset.
• Enthusiasm for and positive representation of American Prairie’s mission, goals and culture.
• Familiar with and comfortable with bird and big-game hunting.
• Great observer of environment, wildlife and people.
• Self-motivated work ethic and ability to work effectively independently.
• Good communication skills with ability to be hospitable to the public and respond accurately and effectively to inquiries.
• Ability to exercise sound judgement and to maintain safe practices.
• Ability to work independently and travel long distances alone in remote areas.
• Ability to safely navigate dangerous road conditions – poorly maintained, gumbo mud, and snow.
• Ability to navigate using a map (GPS or smartphone preferred to navigate complex ownership).
• Valid driver’s license and acceptable driving record.
• 4WD or AWD vehicle in good repair with at least 8” of ground clearance.