Saving Trees from Invasive Weeds

by a DC Trail Ranger

Even in winter one of the first things that struck me about the trails we would be working on was how much green space DC has, and how much of that green space was being destroyed by invasive species.

One of the best things is that for a rare change, I was put in a position where I could actually do something about it. Trees are one of our most important resources. In a world that’s rapidly warming, they help absorb the carbon that’s heating up our planet, but they also help keep us cool with their shade. Even in 95 degrees, Marvin Gaye Trail was cool and comfortable with the shade of large trees while we worked. But to keep them, they need our help.


The sad part is many of these trees are dead or being ripped down by the weight of vines that were never meant to be here in the first place. River birches snapped in half by kudzu, branches of pines and sycamores being pulled down by porcelain berry or bittersweet, huge oaks covered in english ivy, and whole areas swamped by multiflora rose or bush honeysuckle crowding out everything and stealing the sunshine. 

The great part is, that I get to help fix it. Five minutes of snipping vines at the base of a tree means years of growth will die off and eventually fall off the trees. Sometimes I’ll find a small tree fighting for its life and with 15 minutes of careful work and it’s free to breathe and grow in the sunlight. It feels pretty great to see a tree you thought was likely dead start to bud and grow leaves.

How did we get here? 

One of the largest reasons for trees being overtaken by weed is due to the countries’ gilded age when gardens were all the rage. The more exotic the more they inspired the vision of wealth and luxury. The upper class showed wealth largely through lavish manor homes and their large estates with beautifully curated gardens. 150 years ago they simply didn’t realize that many of these plants would escape their gardens and reak havoc for the next century across the country. Many plants were spread by birds and pollinators, and many were spread by people wanting these plants in gardens of their own.

What can we do?

If you know you have an invasive plant in your yard you can remove it. Snip vines at the base and let them die off. Choose native plants for your garden and encourage your friends to do the same. Check out local programs in your area to volunteer with and encourage programs like the Trail Ranger Program to provide continuous vegetation maintenance, no one thing is a solution, but they all make a dent. 

Want to learn more about the issue? Check out these additional resources.

This Man Documented 5,000 Trees Being Killed By Vines In Takoma Park : NPR

Why Do DC’s Poorer Neighborhoods Have Fewer Trees? | WAMU

Bad berry or good berry? Porcelain Berry is a NO NO for our local forests | #CincyParks

Saving Your Neighborhood Trees from Invasive Vines

WELLderness Ride

Join Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, National Park Service and the WABA Trail Rangers for a fun ride on the Anacostia River Trail as part of WELLderness at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. It’s a great way to see the lotuses before the park gets even busier, explore the connection between the park and trail with others, and get outside for a few hours! 

We have 15 bikes and helmets that can be rented free of charge, or you may join with your own bike and helmet!  

We’ll bring some snacks and extra water, but it’ll likely be quite hot. Please bring a water bottle, weather appropriate clothes and whatever you need to keep yourself rolling. Bathrooms will be available at start and finish. 

We’ll meet at the front parking lot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and then go into the park to get to the Anacostia River Trail. We will be back at the park before 12:30 pm.

Registration is required.

Lotus photo credit: National Park Service

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Meet the Year-Round Trail Ranger Team!

Exciting news! This year, our popular DC Trail Ranger program, funded by DDOT Urban Forestry, expands to seven days a week, all year round. DC Trail Rangers provide a friendly, helpful presence on DC’s Trails by clearing vegetation, cleaning up trash, providing answers and trail expertise for trail users, and hosting fun, accessible events that connect with trail-adjacent communities. The team operates on the Marvin Gaye Trail, the Anacostia River Trail, the Oxon Run Trail, the Metropolitan Branch Trail, and the yet-unnamed trail that just opened parallel to DC-295.

“There’s real value in having a skilled team on the trails year round. It means we’re able to build long term relationships with folks who use trails, and with the frankly arcane patchwork of agencies that are responsible for maintaining them,” says Ursula Sandstrom, Director of the program. “When there’s an issue—a pothole, or a broken light, or a big tree down, we know exactly whose job it is to fix it, and we’ve got them on speed dial so we can keep checking in until the issue is fixed.”

So here are the folks you might see out on the trails:

Rob Brown portrait

Rob Brown

Trail Ranger

Hi! My name is Rob Brown and I am excited to be part of the 2022 D.C. Trail Ranger Team. I’m a returning 2021 Trail Ranger.  I grew up in the DMV. area and have been a D.C. resident for over 20 years now. 

I have a professional background that includes construction work (masonry), coaching youth sports, and I previously was a physical education teacher in Southeast D.C.  I am big into running so even when I’m not at work I can often be found on the Anacostia Trail – my favorite. 

I really enjoy cleaning up the trails and making them a beautiful spot for people to enjoy exercise, nature, or for commuting.  I am looking forward to meeting trail users and hopefully I can encourage some new people to get out and enjoy the trails as much as I do.  


Rebecca Carroll Portrait

Rebecca Carroll

Trail Ranger

Hi there! My name is Rebecca Carroll and I am one of 6 Trail Rangers here at WABA.

I moved to D.C. about 4 years ago from my hometown Herndon, Virginia. While growing up my neighbors and I were constantly bicycling on trails near our homes just about every weekend. When I started working at WABA in 2019 as a seasonal Trail Ranger that is when I was reunited with bicycling. I have enjoyed getting to know some of the DC trails, especially the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail because it is close to my home. My daughter loves to tag along in her bike trailer!

I am thrilled to be returning this year as a year- round Trail Ranger. I look forward to improving trail conditions and making sure that all trail users are enjoying the trails!


Agyei Williams portriat

Agyei Chevoyo Williams

Trail Ranger

Hey everybody! My name is Agyei Chevoyo Williams and I’m honored to be a part of WABA’s Trail Ranger team!

As a D.C. native I’ve had the privilege to be raised in the Anacostia area, where the trails became a part of my upbringing. Whether it was spending time cycling the trails until my legs hurt or playing basketball near Anacostia Skate pavilion til it was dark, it has always been the place for me!  

In 2019 I took my love of cycling on the road, literally! To honor my late father I cycled from our great city Washington D.C. to Austin, TX to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association (over 2,200 miles). In 2021 my oldest son (11) and I cycled to Philadelphia to continue to honor my dad and create a yearly tradition.

In addition to working hard to keep our trails clean, safe and ready to be enjoyed daily we also have a chance to build relationships with every community member we come across. So if you see me on your local trails don’t be afraid to say hello!


Donta Leonard Portrait

Donta Leonard

Trail Ranger

Hi! I am Donta Leonard, a Washington, DC native and a graduate of Wilson High School. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, meeting new people, learning new things and watching anime. I am excited to be a part of such an awesome organization working alongside a diverse group of people. Go Commanders!


Patricia Miguel Portrait

Patricia Miguel

Trail Ranger Outreach Manager

Hey! I’m Patricia Miguel and you might remember me from my previous position as WABA‘s Community Outreach Coordinator. I’m excited to take on this new role as Trail Ranger Outreach Manager. I’m passionate about building community and being outside. I’m ready to explore the trails and connect with the people who use them!


Ezra Hollander

Trail Ranger Operations Manager

Hello! My name is Ezra Hollander and I am thrilled to be the new Trail Ranger Operations Manager here at WABA. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and while I loved riding a bike as a kid, it was not until I moved back to the area after college that I discovered the numerous bike trails that the DC region has to offer. Biking is now a huge part of my life from daily errands, to biking from DC to my old neighborhood in Montgomery County, to bike camping along the C&O Canal. Outside of work in addition to biking, I love to cook and hike. I am excited to be a part of the Trail Ranger team and to work to maintain trails throughout DC and encourage more people to take advantage of these invaluable community resources. If you would like to chat about the Trail Ranger program and learn more about the work we are now doing year round, I can be reached at ezra.hollander[at]waba.org. Looking forward to seeing you out on the trails!


Ursula Sandstrom portrait

Ursula Sandstrom

Director, Trail Rangers and Outreach

Ursula Sandstrom was part of the original part-time Trail Ranger team in the inaugural 2013 season after she applied for an outside summer job to get away from desk work after college. She worked as a field bike technician for Capital Bikeshare in 2014 and was a lead union organizer in their successful bid to join the TWU Local 100 shop. She returned to coordinate the Trail Ranger program in 2015, and developed it into the year-round, robust and mindful program that it is today.

WABA and our supporters are transforming our region.

Our region is changing. Can you see it? I can: from my window, from my bike, from my picnic blanket. More people than ever are riding confidently in new protected bike lanes. Families are out enjoying our gorgeous local trails and car-free spaces like Beach Drive. Friends are eating, drinking, talking, and laughing in streateries. 
 Our streets are becoming more than a way to get from one place to another. They are the places where we live our lives.

In 2021, WABA, our supporters, and our partners came together to reimagine what our region can look like when we make space for more people. Here’s what we did together:

  • A wider Washington & Old Dominion Trail that invites more people to make this beautiful space part of their daily lives.  

  • Unprecedented demand for a car-free future for Beach Drive— an incredible show of support for one of our region’s beloved National Parks.

  • The first-ever protected bike lanes on a state highway in Maryland, piloting a repurpose of two traffic lanes for biking.

  • DC’s second Open Streets event, which brought tens of thousands of people to Georgia Avenue NW for an afternoon of carefree, car-free play.

  • More bike lanes all over that create critical connections to other bike lanes and trails, and make each ride better than the last.

WABA joined with organizations focused on intersectional issues like climate, housing, and transit, to advance our shared vision of a sustainable, equitable transportation system. In coalition, we:

  • Earned support from four jurisdictions—and counting!—to build the Capital Trails Network by 2030—an 881-mile network of connected, world-class trails.

  • Won dedicated, comprehensive funding for the DC Vision Zero Bill, which will increase automated traffic enforcement and pay for pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects, taking a much-needed step towards ending our region’s traffic violence epidemic.

  • Built power, strategy, and community among regional Families for Safe Streets chapters, bringing together those impacted by traffic violence through peer support and advocacy.

  • Expanded our DC Trail Rangers program. WABA Trail Rangers’ daily, friendly presence on the trails is setting a national precedent for what trail outreach and maintenance should be, and making it clear that trails are for everyone.

Tomorrow, I’ll share more about what’s ahead for WABA in 2022. I hope you’ll be along for the ride!

We’re Hiring! DC Trail Ranger Operations Manager

Trail rangers in green shirts ride along the Anacostia River Trail with trailers

Trail Ranger Operations Manager

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is looking for a Trail Ranger Operations Manager to help improve and champion world-class trails in the District. In collaboration with the Outreach Manager and led by the Trail Ranger and Outreach Director, the Operations Manager will run the nationally unique DC Trail Ranger Program. We are looking for someone with strong attention to logistical details, who loves collaboration, feedback and being wiling to try something new, and who can dream big and implement a trails program that prioritizes being inclusive, welcoming and supportive to trail users and staff. This position (and program!) includes a lot of different knowledge areas — we are not expecting new staff to know it all at the beginning, and the skills and strengths of everyone on the team will shape the particulars of how the program is run.

The Trail Ranger Operations Manager is expected to begin January 11th, 2022. Pay will be $54,000 – $60,000 salaried with benefits. Fulfillment and year-over-year continuity of these positions is subject to funding.

About the Trail Rangers Program

WABA’s Trail Ranger Program aims to make the District trails welcoming and inclusive to all residents, frequently used, and in a state of good repair. The program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, community engagement, trail maintenance, and trail user assistance.  Trail Rangers cover paved multi-use trails within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Oxon Run Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence to make the trails more enjoyable, inclusive and dependable for transportation and recreation. 

Starting in 2022, the Trail Ranger Program will have full-time, year round staffing and operations (the program was seasonal for the previous nine years). Year round operation will enable WABA to have a professional trail team with ongoing training and skill development.

WABA’s Trail Ranger Program contract with the District’s Urban Forestry Division goes through 2024, with possibilities of extension beyond 2024. These positions are contingent upon annual funding renewal. 

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

The Team

The WABA Trail Ranger Team will be an eight person team: we will have a Trail Ranger and  Outreach Director, an Outreach Manager, an Operations Manager and five DC Trail Ranger field staff. Day-to-day management of the program will be done by the Operations and Outreach Managers with overall strategy and regional coordination by the Director. Team culture heavily values collaboration and mutual respect, with weekly all-staff team meetings and many decisions made or led by field staff. Individual Trail Rangers will report directly to either the Operations or Outreach Manager.

Job Responsibilities:

Implement the DC Trail Ranger Program: In collaboration with the Trail Ranger Outreach Manager, you’ll run the Trail Ranger program, including directly supervising two full-time Trail Ranger staff with a lense towards managing for diversity, equity and inclusion. You’ll also do some Trail Rangers shifts, and be responsible for completing program reporting and invoicing. 

Manage the Trail Ranger Program’s field operations and protocols: Your role will focus on program operations, including shift scheduling, managing tool and fleet bike maintenance, and issue reporting. You’ll also manage and determine DC Trail Ranger protocols for staff safety, risk mitigation, trail conditions, and the ecological health of the District. 

Trail maintenance coordination: You’ll work with the Trail Rangers to track the big-picture maintenance conditions of DC trails, ensure the program is compliant with District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) maintenance standards, and be the primary point of contact for complicated and/or multi-agency projects. This includes collaborating with the DDOT on trail projects and annual trail condition audits. You’ll also help develop WABA’s networks and relationships with other non-profit organizations, businesses, elected public officials, governmental agencies, and community leaders in the trail corridors.

This position will be based from WABA’s Adams Morgan office.

Qualifications

You should apply if you meet at least 70% of the following required and 1+ of the useful criteria (Ie We would love to consider you as a candidate and don’t expect staff to know everything on day one! Give us your best pitch of how your professional and/or personal experience fits the job qualifications and the role in your cover letter):

Required:

  • One to three years experience in operations management, including shift scheduling, stock management, invoicing, database tracking (could include: food and retail service, small business management, maintenance operations, and more)
  • One or more years of staff management experience, including mentoring, developing, and evaluating employees.
  • Experience with grant program management and reporting.
  • Financial program management, including monitoring, reporting, tracking expenditures, invoicing, and projections.  
  • Enthusiastic, sincere interpersonal and communications skills, both informal and written, including active listening and learning. 
  • The ability to organize time wisely and balance many projects in a relaxed, fun environment.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work some outside of traditional business hours (i.e. mornings before 9 AM, evenings after 5 PM, and weekends).
  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative.
  • Proven track record for working collaboratively within a team
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences, and how climate and transportation justice are connected to a trails program. 
  • The willingness to continually learn more about trails, neighborhood history and the many different cultural competencies necessary for working in the DC region.
  • A strong commitment to WABA’s mission, vision, and diversity, inclusion and equity goals.
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be eligible for an exemption as defined by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Order 2021-099, Section III

Useful experience and skills:

  • Lived experience with our program trails, and the nearby neighbors and neighborhoods, especially near Marvin Gaye and Oxon Run trails.
  • Street smarts. By which we mean knowledge to make nuanced decisions and support field staff as is necessary in a field program including recognizing hate language in graffiti, what might be at play in perceived threats to trail users and/or which options are safest for engaging angry members of the public. 
  • Working fluency in Spanish, ASL and/or Amharic.
  • Experience working in or managing a multi-lingual, including mixed Deaf and hearing, work environment. 
  • Experience with a field-based operations team, especially on bicycles. 
  • Experience with Google Suite (Gmail, Chat, Drive, Sheets, Docs) and Salesforce.
  • Working knowledge of bicycle maintenance, up to including flat repair, shifting adjustments, hydraulic brake maintenance, and regular maintenance tasks needed for a bike fleet (complicated maintenance will be performed by a local bicycle shop). 
  • Trained or formal experience with mid-Atlantic ecology, and invasive and native plant identification. 
  • Experience with paved multi-use trail or park maintenance operations. 
  • Experience with urban watershed restoration and management. 
  • Previous experience as a DC Trail Ranger. 
  • District residency is preferred. 

Support

There’s a lot of work to do! Here’s some of what’s available to help get it done:

  • Nine years of Trail Ranger program institutional knowledge, tools and protocols.  
  • WABA’s Programs team is already on the ground all across the District.
  • Existing operations relationships to DDOT, other District and regional entities, including the 60+ members of the Capital Trails Coalition. 
  • An inclusive, collaborative professional team environment.
  • We’re setup as an intersectional outreach program that recognizes the multitudes of identities and promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity for employees and the public.

Benefits

  • This is a full time salaried exempt position with one-to-one compensatory time in exchange for any additional hours worked.
  • The expected salary range is $54,000 – $60,000. 
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Vacation, sick and personal leave, including:
    • Accrue up to 120 hours of paid vacation starting in your first year, with additional hours after two, five, and ten years of service.
    • Accrue up to 160 hours annually of paid sick time starting in your first year.
    • WABA supports and promotes the health of its staff. You may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
    • Paid time off for holidays following the federal holiday calendar. 
  • 8 weeks paid parental leave and up to 8 weeks of additional parental leave from the DC Paid Family Leave act (based on eligibility).
  • Immediate access to WABA’s 403(b) retirement program, with up to a 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • Optional commuter transit benefit (pre tax deduction)
  • Optional voluntary benefits including life insurance, short-term disability, and long-term disability.
  • A fun and relaxed workplace environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work. 

COVID-19 Operational Staff Safety Plan:

WABA expects that some COVID-19 precautions will be necessary for the 2022 season and potentially beyond. The health of staff and trail users is a top priority. 

  • Properly worn quality masks may be required on the job, except for distanced water and snack breaks. Masks will be provided when necessary. 
  • The majority of Trail Ranger work will be performed outside. 

Apply

Send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger Operations Manager” in the subject line. Please make sure your application illustrates how you meet the qualifications for the job and what additional skills you would bring to the program.  Applications are due by December 8th, 2021 and we expect the positions to start e January 11th, 2022. 

No phone calls please.

EEO Statement:

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Year-round DC Trail Rangers program coming soon! We’re hiring!

screenshot of a flyer saying Hiring: DC Trail Rangers. Work outside! Encourage trail user as a professional trail team with daily trail presence, improved upkeep, trail user assistance and community engagement. We are looking for people who are dependable, thoughtful and can ride a bike. Beyond this, there is not a standard job history for successful Trail Rangers.

Coming soon – a year-round and full-time DC Trail Ranger team!

After running as a limited seasonal program for nine years, WABA and DDOT are proud to announce that the DC Trail Rangers are expanding to year-round starting 2022! This expansion means permanent living wage, green jobs as DC Trail Rangers, year-round programming and trail presence, and the opportunity to do cool long-term projects. 

As such, we’re hiring! We are looking to hire six dependable and thoughtful people who can grow into their roles. There is not a standard job history, experience of biking, years of experience or skills set that made previous Trail Rangers successful. These positions (and program!) include a lot of different knowledge areas — we are not expecting new staff to know it all at the beginning, and the skills and strengths of everyone on the team will shape some particulars of how the program is run. 

Apply

DC Trail Rangers (Full-time, $45,760 annual salary with benefits)

Trail Ranger Operations Manager (Full-time, $54,000 – $60,000 annual salary with benefits)

About the Trail Rangers Program

WABA’s Trail Ranger Program aims to make the District trails welcoming and inclusive to all residents, frequently used, and in a state of good repair. The program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, community engagement, trail maintenance, and trail user assistance. Trail Rangers cover paved multi-use trails within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Oxon Run Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence to make the trails more enjoyable, inclusive and dependable for transportation and recreation. 

Starting in 2022, the Trail Ranger Program will have full-time, year round staffing and operations (the program was seasonal for the previous nine years). Year round operation will enable WABA to have a professional trail team with ongoing training and skill development.

WABA’s Trail Ranger Program contract with the District’s Urban Forestry Division goes through 2024, with possibilities of extension beyond 2024. These positions are contingent upon annual funding renewal. 

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

We’re Hiring! DC Trail Rangers

the new leaves on a tree are in focus, behind you can see a blue clouded sky, a playground, two bicycles and a trail bed of the Marvin Gaye Trail

DC Trail Rangers

Do you love being outdoors and connecting with people? Want to be part of a collaborative trail team in DC, and be paid to engage with folks about trails and fix trails?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for passionate and energetic professional trail champions with a wide range of skills and experiences for our permanent Trail Ranger Team. We are looking to hire five dependable and thoughtful people who can grow into their roles. Beyond this, there is not a standard job history, experience of biking, years of experience or skills set that made previous Trail Rangers successful. This position (and program!) includes a lot of different knowledge areas — we are not expecting new staff to know it all at the beginning, and the skills and strengths of everyone on the team will shape some particulars of how the program is run. 

These positions are expected to begin January 18th, 2022. Pay will be $45,760 annual salary, and benefits. These positions are permanent full-time opportunities, with five day, 8 hour per shift work weeks. A standard work week will be either Tuesday through Saturday or Sunday through Thursday for individual staff. Shifts will vary in start time to ensure varied trail presence, more details are included below. 

About the Trail Rangers Program

WABA’s Trail Ranger Program aims to make the District trails welcoming and inclusive to all residents, frequently used, and in a state of good repair. The program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, community engagement, trail maintenance, and trail user assistance.  Trail Rangers cover paved multi-use trails within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Oxon Run Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence to make the trails more enjoyable, inclusive and dependable for transportation and recreation. 

Starting in 2022, the Trail Ranger Program will have full-time, year round staffing and operations (the program was seasonal for the previous nine years). Year round operation will enable WABA to have a professional trail team with ongoing training and skill development.

WABA’s Trail Ranger Program contract with the District’s Urban Forestry Division goes through 2024, with possibilities of extension beyond 2024. These positions are contingent upon annual funding renewal. 

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

The Team

The WABA Trail Ranger Team will be an eight person team: we will have a Trail Ranger and Outreach Director, an Outreach Manager, an Operations Manager and five DC Trail Ranger field staff. Day-to-day management of the program will be done by the Operations and Outreach Managers with overall strategy and regional coordination by the Director. Team culture heavily values collaboration and mutual respect, with weekly all-staff team meetings and many decisions made or led by field staff. Individual Trail Rangers will report directly to either the Operations or Outreach Manager.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Spend the majority of your work hours outside, biking on or between trails year-round (except during thunderstorms, very cold days, and other hazardous conditions).
  • Work eight-hour shifts with a partner, riding electric-assist cargo bikes at a relaxed, conversational pace.
  • Collaborate with your team members to determine daily priorities and share program information.
  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular maintenance efforts and consistent outreach events.
  • Help lower barriers to bicycling, build community, and build a more robust trail network.
  • Run trail cleanups, and a variety of programming and community events with the Outreach and Operations Managers, including outside and inside programming.
  • Perform trail condition inspections and trail corridor maintenance, including pruning branches, gathering trash, and removing obstructions.
  • Track outreach and maintenance work in Google Sheets and Salesforce.

This position will be based from WABA’s Adams Morgan office.

Qualifications

We would love to consider you as a candidate and don’t expect staff to know everything on day one! Give us your best pitch of how your professional and/or personal experience fits the job qualifications and the role in your cover letter:

Trail Rangers must have:

  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative.
  • The willingness to be positive and engaging in a public setting.
  • The willingness and enthusiasm to work in a collaborative team and as a proactive, self starter. 
  • The capacity to be available for 40 hours per week in 8 hour shifts with weekday and weekend availability. Shifts are generally:
    • 6:30 am – 2:30 pm, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm or 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays.
    • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm for Saturday or Sunday shifts.
    • Individual Trail Rangers will either work Tuesday to Saturday or Sunday to Thursdays.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences.  
  • The willingness to continually learn more about trails, neighborhood history and the many different cultural competencies necessary for working in the DC region.
  • The ability to ride a bike, with a willingness to ride in mixed city traffic and off-street trails.
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be eligible for an exemption as defined by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Order 2021-099, Section III.

Additional qualifications and experience that are helpful but not required:

  • Lived experience with our program trails, and the nearby neighbors and neighborhoods, especially near Marvin Gaye Trail, Anacostia Park, and Oxon Run Trail.
  • A proven track record for working collaboratively within a team.
  • Excellent communication skills in informal settings and across lines of difference.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • The ability to prioritize and a thoughtful attention to detail.
  • Street smarts. By which we mean knowledge to make nuanced decisions while doing a field-based job, including recognizing hate language in graffiti, what might be at play in perceived threats to trail users and/or which options are safest for engaging angry members of the public. 
  • Experience working in a multi-lingual, including mixed Deaf and hearing, work environment
  • Basic computer skills.
  • Experience with Google Suite (Gmail, Chat, Drive, Sheets, Docs) and our Salesforce database. 
  • District residency is preferred. 

As a team based program, we are looking for one or more employees to have:

  • Amateur or formal experience in mid-Atlantic plant identification and ecology, and native plant restoration. 
  • Working fluency in Spanish, ASL and/or Amharic.
  • Previous experience as a DC Trail Ranger. 
  • Working knowledge of bicycle maintenance, up to and including flat repair, shifting adjustments, hydraulic brake maintenance, and regular maintenance tasks needed for the Tern fleet bikes (complicated maintenance will be performed by a local bicycle shop).

Support

There’s a lot of work to do! Here’s some of what’s available to help get it done:

  • Orientation and team management that prioritizes your well-being, including training in preventing common bicycling injuries.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations. 
  • Providing all the tools, bikes and materials needed to perform the job, including Tern electric cargo bikes.
  • Nine years of institutional knowledge in running the DC Trail Ranger program. 
  • Teaching you the skills necessary for the job (urban bike riding, basic trail maintenance, basic bike maintenance, how to do field outreach, Salesforce).
  • An inclusive, collaborative professional team environment. 
  • We’re setup as an intersectional outreach program that recognizes the multitudes of identities and promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity for employees and the public.
  • WABA’s other Outreach Program staff for knowledge sharing and collaboration. 
  • A lot of other events and resources by WABA and trail partners to chat with trail users about. 

Benefits

  • These are full-time, salaried non-exempt positions.
  • The expected salary is $45,760.
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Vacation, sick and personal leave, including:
    • Accrue up to 120 hours of paid vacation starting in your first year, with additional hours after two, five, and ten years of service.
    • Accrue up to 160 hours annually of paid sick time starting in your first year.
    • WABA supports and promotes the health of its staff. You may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
    • Paid time off for holidays following the federal holiday calendar. 
  • 8 weeks paid parental leave and up to 8 weeks of additional parental leave from the DC Paid Family Leave act (based on eligibility).
  • Immediate access to WABA’s 403(b) retirement program, with up to a 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • Optional commuter transit benefit (pre tax deduction)
  • Optional voluntary benefits including life insurance, short-term disability, and long-term disability.
  • A fun and relaxed workplace environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work. 

COVID-19 Operational Staff Safety Plan:

WABA expects that some COVID-19 precautions will be necessary for the 2022 season and potentially beyond. The health of staff and trail users is a top priority. 

  • Properly worn quality masks may be required on the job, except for distanced water and snack breaks. Masks will be provided when necessary. 
  • The majority of Trail Ranger work will be performed outside. 

Apply

Please email a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “DC Trail Ranger” as the subject line. Please make sure your application illustrates how you meet the qualifications for the job and what additional skills you would bring to the team. Applications are due by December 8th, 2021 and we expect the positions to start January 18th, 2022. 

Here are some helpful resources as you prepare your job application materials: compilation of resources and resume basics.

EEO Statement:

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Lotuses & Water Lilies: A Trail Guide

Ever seen a leaf four feet wide? You can at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens just off the Anacostia River Trail! It is probably THE bike ride (or walk!) for July in DC and the Trail Ranger team is here to help you out.

Where are these lotuses?

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is home to a lot of lotuses though some can also be found at other sites around the region. The aquatic gardens is the only National Park Service site dedicated to aquatic plants and home to many unusual varietals.

Map address is:
1550 Anacostia Ave SE
Washington, DC 20019

Google Maps screenshot of Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens (at red pin). Image Courtesy of Google Maps.

How do I get there?

Heading north on the Anacostia River Trail:

Go along the trail until 40th St and Anacostia Ave NE. It looks like this (but with leaves and the grass is greener now!):

Ride on Anacostia Ave for 0.6 miles until you arrive at the parking lot for the park. Once in the gates, walk into the park past the parking lot. The path will take you to the first pond, 50 feet from the biking parking. Take a right to find the parking!

If you want a longer ride, keep going on the trail for 1.5 miles instead of turning right onto Anacostia Ave and connect with the park via the north trail entrance described below.

Heading south on the Anacostia River Trail:

Go along the trail past Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Ride until the trail dips under the Amtrak tracks and multi-lane bridge of New York Ave. Just after the trail will arrive on land again and you’ll see:

Trail and a gravel entrance. the chalk on the trail reads Lotus Festival with a left arrow to the gravel path. The trail is very green and shaded
Entrance to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (photo from 2019)

Signal, stop and walk your bike (this helps protect the turtles and water chemistry of the surrounding wetlands) on the gravel path for a few hundred feet. You’ll come upon the bike parking (photograph of it above) just as you arrive at the main portion of the park.

From Marvin Gaye Trail:

You can ride to the park by going west on Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE from the end of Marvin Gaye Trail at Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave and Minnesota Ave NE. Ride to the traffic circle entrance to Kenilworth Park. Ride along Deane Ave into Kenilworth Park and turn right onto the trail at the pavilion in 0.2 miles. Once on the trail, you can either connect to the Anacostia Ave route in 0.1 miles or keeping going on the trail to the north park entrance. This is a stressful route – Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE crossing Minnesota Ave and the ramps off and on 295 has terrible sidewalks and a lot of turning vehicle traffic.

Nannie Helen Burroughs and Minnesota Ave NE. Image from 2019. Roadway conditions are different now though sidewalk conditions remain the same.

There are a few pedestrian bridge connections across 295. There is a connection via the Minnesota Ave Metro station and existing pedestrian bridge to Hayes St NE. Continue straight on Hayes St NE and you will reach the Anacostia River Trail. Go straight onto the trail and you reach Anacostia Ave and 40th St NE in 0.8 miles.

Additional bridge are at Polk St NE (take Douglas St to Anacostia Ave, and then turn right to get to the park) and Nash St NE (take Nash St to Anacostia Ave, and then turn right to get to the park).

Capital Bikeshare

The closest Capitol Bikeshare station to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is currently at Nannie Helen Burroughs and Minnesota Ave NE (station map here). Capital Bikeshare ebikes can be docked at stations or locked remotely as a single bike outside of National Park Service property. See Capital Bikeshare for pricing and more details.

When to go?

If you want to visit when its less crowded: weekdays! The lotuses are still kind of a hidden gem but less so every year. If you want to visit the park and not be crowded, visit during the weekday.

Information about the 2021 Lotus and Water Lily Festival hosted by the park can be found here. Most programming this year is online with a limited selection of in-person events. The park is open to visit and has extended hours for July 2021.

We’re Hiring! 2021 DC Trail Rangers

Brightly lit greenery and trail with some black eyed susans and a green yard sign that says Go Slow Enough That Everyone's Safe with the Trail Ranger logo

Do you love being outdoors and connecting with people? Want to be part of a collaborative trail team in DC this summer, and be paid to engage with folks about trails and fix trails?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for two passionate and energetic professional trail champions with a wide range of skills and experiences for our 2021 Trail Ranger Team. We are looking to hire two dependable and thoughtful people. Beyond this, there is not a standard job history, experience of biking, years of experience or skills set for previously successful Trail Rangers. 

These positions are expected to begin April 29th and will end on September 30th, 2021. Pay will be $18.50 per hour for new Trail Rangers, and $19.00 per hour for returning Trail Rangers. These positions are seasonal, full-time opportunities. Shifts will still vary in start time, and will be scheduled on weekdays and weekends. 

About the Trail Rangers Program

WABA’s Trail Ranger program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, community engagement, trail maintenance, and trail user assistance. Reporting to our Outreach Manager, Trail Rangers cover trails within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Oxon Run Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence from May through September to make the trails more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

Intangible benefits include: working outside on those perfect spring days, getting to know your city better through talking with neighbors, and appreciation from fellow trail users. 

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Spend the majority of your work hours outside, biking on or between trails (except during thunderstorms and other hazardous conditions).
  • Work in shifts with a partner riding electric-assist cargo bikes at a relaxed, conversational pace on an 8 hour shift.
  • Collaborate with your team member to determine daily priorities and share program information. 
  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular maintenance efforts and consistent outreach events.
  • Help lower barriers to bicycling, build community, and build a more robust trail network.
  • Run cleanups and community events with the program coordinator (currently paused, subject to Covid-19 precautions and community spread).
  • Perform trail condition inspections and trail corridor maintenance, including pruning branches, gathering trash, and removing obstructions.

Qualifications

Trail Rangers must have:

  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative.
  • The willingness to be positive and engaging in a public setting.
  • The willingness and enthusiasm to work in a collaborative team and as a proactive, self starter. 
  • The capacity to be available for 40 hours per week in 8 hour shifts with weekday and weekend availability. Shifts are generally:
    • 6:30 am – 2:30 pm or 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays.
    • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekends.
  • A commitment to work April 29th to September 30th, 2021.
  • The ability to ride a bike with a willingness to ride in mixed city traffic and off-street trails.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences. 
  • The willingness to further their knowledge of trail and neighborhood history.

Additional qualifications and experience that are helpful but not required:

  • A proven track record for working collaboratively within a team.
  • Excellent communication skills in informal settings and across lines of difference.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • The ability to prioritize and a thoughtful attention to detail.
  • Lived experience with our program trails and the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Working knowledge of basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat tire and adjusting brakes.
  • Fluency in Spanish, ASL and/or Amharic a strong plus.

Support

WABA is committed to:

  • Teaching you the skills necessary for the job (urban bike riding, basic trail maintenance, basic bike maintenance, how to do bicycle outreach).
  • Ensuring an inclusive, collaborative professional team environment.
  • Run an intersectional outreach program that recognizes the multitudes of identities and promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity for employees and the public.
  • Orientation and team management that prioritizes your well-being, including training in preventing common biking injuries.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations. 
  • Providing all the tools, bikes and materials needed to perform the job, including electric cargo bikes.

Benefits

  • This is a full-time, non-exempt, temporary position from April 29th to September 30th 2021.
  • Wages will be $18.50 an hour for new Trail Rangers and $19.00 for returning Trail Rangers. 
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums from May 1st to September 30th. 
  • Sick, holiday, and funeral leave. Employees will accrue 8 hours sick leave per month, and have paid time off for every federal holiday during employment. 
  • WABA supports and promotes the health of it’s staff. You may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
  • Optional commuter transit benefit (pre tax deduction).
  • A fun and relaxed workplace environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work. 

COVID-19 Operational Staff Safety Plan:

WABA expects that COVID-19 precautions will be necessary for all of the 2021 season.

  • Properly worn quality masks will be required on the job at all times, except for distanced water and snack breaks. KN95s and surgical masks will be provided. 
  • The majority of Trail Ranger work will be performed outside, with minimal inside work. Shift setup and breakdown will be staggered between employees to avoid sharing air space. 
  • Trail Rangers should expect to see limited other WABA staff in the office, but they will be working in a separately-ventilated space. 

Apply

This position is full-time from April 29, 2021 through September 30, 2021 for 40 hours per week. 

Please email a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” as the subject line. Please make sure your application illustrates how you meet the qualifications for the job and what additional skills you would bring to the team. 

Here are some helpful resources as you prepare your job application materials: compilation of resources and resume basics.  

Applications will be accepted until March 15th though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier and a first round of decisions will be made on March 1st. Phone interviews will begin March 25th, hiring decisions will be made by April 16th and team orientation will begin April 29th. 

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Green shirts, pruning shears, good vibes.

Trail rangers in green shirts ride along the Anacostia River Trail with trailers

Maybe you’ve seen them sporting green shirts, trimming bushes and helping folks with flat tires. Regardless of what they’re doing, the WABA’s Trail Rangers keep our trails nice and usable.

Much of my job happens behind a computer, but this fall I got to experience working as a Trail Ranger firsthand. One day each week, a coworker and I threw on the iconic green shirt and biked around to sweep glass of trails and clean graffiti.

It was a lot of work—but it sure was rewarding. Every shift, enthusiastic folks approached us, wanting to know who we represented. “WABA!” we always shouted, heartwarmed that so many people wanted to pitch in themselves.

Like our trails themselves, the Trail Rangers bring people together. When you see us out on the trail, give us a wave or stop and say hi— we love to chat!