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mariposa trails

*This position has been filled*

Mariposa, CA

Achieving Resiliency Through Public Trails in Mariposa County

Desired Skills/Traits:

  • Background/knowledge in ecology, environmental sciences, anthropology, geography, sociology, political science, etc. 

  • Communications and relationship building
  • Research and Assessment

  • Project Management and Product Development

  • GIS Mapping, Writing, Graphic Design

Openings: 0 of 1

Focus Area: Forestry/Fire

Ecological Forestry, Fire Preparedness & Management, Education & Outreach, Environmental Stewardship

project breakdown







Education & Outreach


Goals & Needs

Mariposa Trails is a nonprofit organization that restores local trails and promotes their use through education, adventure, and stewardship. Although we are a young organization and small in numbers, we have a big vision. We are driven by a strong environmental ethic, a love to be outdoors, and our belief that trail stewardship activities lead to community prosperity and resiliency.  Now, we need capacity to create a larger container to hold so many aspirations and so much joy.

A day in the life of a fellow in Mariposa County is foremost being completely surrounded by beauty. Secondly, Mariposans are passionate about their community and the dreams they wish to create here. Sometimes described as a “bubble,” Mariposa is unique in being a close-knit small town while also being a gathering place for people and cultures from around the world as they trek towards Yosemite. There is magic in Mariposa County. The projects are about 30% field work; 40% work-station and 30% meeting with partner agents. The work station will be located in Mariposa CA., at the home of Beth Kellner and Bill King.

Given recent changes to the forest and tourism-based economy, the business-as-usual way of life in Mariposa County is simply not sustainable. Drought, combined with forest management practices and a changing climate was a perfect storm for the bark beetle, which killed hundreds of thousands of pine trees. Massive wildfires followed, leaving local recreational resources in shambles. After years of traffic congestion and difficulties in balancing resource protection and a quality visitor experience, Yosemite National Park has opted to limit visitor access.  The economic consequences of reduced park visitation and damage to the scenic quality of Mariposa is a challenge that can be met with new approaches to recreation and environmental stewardship. Mariposa Trails offers such approaches.

The challenge Mariposa Trails is taking on is twofold: (1) recognizing that the health of the community (economically, socially and environmentally), is based on having a healthy relationship of reciprocity with the more than the human/natural world; and (2) that there is incredible natural value in Yosemite, as well as adjacent National Forest public lands proximate to our residents and tourists. Mariposa Trails exemplifies the mission of the GrizzlyCorps to create sustainable communities- economically, socially and environmentally.

Capacity Building Projects

All three independent projects will serve the Sierra National Forest, Mariposa County Fire Advisory Committee, and in some cases, CalFIRE and the local prescribed burn association.


  • Project 1:  Policy Formation - Support to Create “Shaded Trail-Fuel-Breaks”: The Fellow will be responsible for: (1) initiating discussions about shaded fuel-breaks along local trails with affected public agencies, non-profit groups, tribes, and community groups; (2) identify a trail for a pilot project, (3) working collaboratively with our partner organizations, determine how funding, workforce and permits figure into project implementation; and, (4) garner commitments to implement the project. The desired project outcomes will be establishment of a practice by partners that supports such trail design, and the laying of ground-work for the successful implementation of a shaded fuel break at some future date. This foundational work will increase the community’s resiliency capacity in an area with severe fire threats.The map will increase the community’s capacity to inform local residents and tourists about local trails, along with messaging about the ecological role of fire in the environment, our responsibility to be “fire-wise,” and information about what to do in case of a fire.

  •  Project 2: Create an Online Trail Map of the County with a Fire Resilience Theme: The Fellow will be responsible for (1) seeking guidance from local public agencies, non-profit groups, tribes, and community groups about the design and content of the map; (2) creating the online map and associated storyboards; and (3) pending availability of funds, the creation of a print version of the map. The desired project outcome will be a functional online map and possibly a printed version that would be utilized by all participating agencies and groups. 

  • Project 3: Embodying Stewardship-Based Trail Outings: The Fellow will be responsible for (1) examining successful models of “working vacations;” (2) devising a diverse set of outings; and, (3) collaborating with area partners. The desired project outcome will be the submission of a set of proposals to American Hiking Society for inclusion in their “working vacation” promotions. It’s been said that getting out into natural spaces is the first step to loving them, and loving them is the first step to wanting to protect them. To emphasize and promote a conservation ethic, daily readings and group discussions from the book “Braiding Sweetgrass” will start each volunteer work day. The working vacations and the trail access they provide will improve economic resiliency. 

Organizational & Community Highlights

Mariposa Trails is a non-profit trail development organization which promotes trail use for adventure, health, stewardship, education and community prosperity. It is run and operated entirely by volunteers who have a passion for the outdoors and our mission. Known as an organization that gets things done, our energy is drawn from the belief that individuals, communities and the planet can all thrive together, and that this health is attained through relationships of reciprocity.  Our work is performed in the office and outdoors, primarily on US Forest Service lands.

Working with Mariposa Trails would be a great professional development experience. Foremost, we’ve set the bar high— to attain sustainable community-level way of thinking and being. Providing access to nature through trail stewardship is a means to a greater end; our work is an opportunity to embody the ethics of reciprocity, as envisioned in the book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Hence, we strive to “live” in alignment with ideals of belonging to, relationship with, and responsible use of the more-than-human world. Secondly, the odds of meeting, collaborating with and learning about employment opportunities with field-based employers is extensive. Mariposa County is stock full of federal employees from the National Park, National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management, the offices of CalFIRE, the Sierra Nature Conservancy, the local Resource Conservation District, a locally forming Prescribed Burn Association, naturalists, local museums (history and geology), and a treasure trove of local non-profit groups, including the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, World Wildlife Federation and the Southern Miwuk Tribe. Added to a mix are academics from UC Merced and UC Berkeley.

If you’d like to live at a place closer to nature, then Mariposa County is a good place to be. Its incredible outdoor setting includes Yosemite National Park, wild and scenic rivers, a desirable year-round climate, a diverse palette of flora and fauna, and terrain ranging from a few hundred feet to over 14,000 feet. There are no incorporated cities; the town of Mariposa is the county seat and a gateway to Yosemite NP. Other small communities dot the rural landscape of rangeland, oak woodlands, and forests. Additionally, although only a county of 18,000 people and not a single signalized intersection, public transit provides access to Yosemite National Park as well as the urbanized areas of the Central Valley.

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