Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, Trail Program Director

Are you passionate about trails and the many benefits they offer? Are you a successful planner or community advocate and project manager who would love to use your skills to leave a legacy and help extend and complete the Bay Area Ridge Trail?

The Ridge Trail Council is looking for a dynamic and seasoned professional to lead Council efforts, working with our partners to plan, build, and open new trail. This position reports to the Executive Director, works closely with a team of 7 staff, including supervising a Trail Advocate and part-time Trail Steward, and with park agencies, land trusts and district partners, private landowners, and other stakeholders to promote involvement and partnership in the Ridge Trail.

The successful candidate will take a leadership role in planning and prioritizing trail development efforts including: updating a comprehensive plan for trail build out, formulating strategies and solutions for the most challenging trail gaps, coordinating with key partners, grant and contract administration, and oversight of mapping, trail database and other analytical tools.


The Ridge Trail Council’s mission is to plan, promote and sustain a connected hiking, cycling and equestrian trail on the ridgelines around San Francisco Bay – linking people, parks and open space for today and future generations. We’re more than two-thirds of the way to our goal, with about 370+ miles complete of the ultimate 550-mile loop.

The Council will soon celebrate 30 years as a successful, stable nonprofit with a professional, well-respected staff, a dedicated and engaged Board of Directors, and an extensive cadre of volunteers. The office is currently located in the beautiful San Francisco Presidio, which is served by a free downtown shuttle. An office location change is possible; good access via public transportation would be a priority. The expansive regional extent of the trail network requires an ability to travel throughout the Bay Area.


  • Help develop and implement a comprehensive trail development master plan.
  • Oversee an investigation and analysis of critical trail gaps and implement gap closure strategies
  • Help set trail program priorities, manage workflow & supervise trail staff, including an associate level planner and part-time trail steward.
  • Maintain information in the development “pipeline” and communicate trail development news, status, funding and other and needs both internally and externally
  • Cultivate relationships with key partners: park agencies, land trusts, public utilities, private landowners, community organizations, advocates, and others.
  • Coordinate Council involvement with trail planning, design, environmental review, permitting, construction and opening throughout the region.
  • Oversee a major trail program planning grant, and special project grants.
  • Coordinate in-house tools and work with consultants to support our trail database, printed and on-line planning and public maps and tools.
  • Work with Ridge Trail staff, directors, committee members and other appropriate agencies and advocates to set and track trail program priorities and on alignment, signage, mapping, shared use, environmental protection, and other issues as appropriate.
  • Work with development staff to flesh out trail development and special project funding need statements and funder applications.
  • Seek new revenue opportunities, prepare cost estimates and assist with budget preparation, tracking and reporting.
  • Help plan and implement trail dedications and similar events and occasionally assist with special fundraising events.
  • Prepare and present written, oral and technical reports
  • Serve as a Ridge Trail Council ambassador to partners, stakeholders, advocates and the public.


  • Minimum five years of directly related work experience in land use planning, community organizing, and/or natural resource management
  • Strong organizational and relationship building skills and ability to effectively collaborate and communicate with diverse stakeholders.
  • Ability to think strategically as well as have excellent attention to detail.
  • Knowledge and direct experience with trail planning, design, environmental review and permitting preferred.
  • Experience negotiating, tracking, and managing implementation of contracts.
  • Experience with park agency, land trust real estate transactions and trail easements preferred.
  • Experience in grant-writing or working with development staff to secure program funding.
  • Ability to work independently on and manage multiple complex projects.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Outstanding planning and analytical skills.
  • Experience with project budgets and accounting.
  • Familiarity with Bay Area geography, parks and natural resources preferred.
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office programs; proficiency with GIS and database management a plus.
  • College degree required.
  • Valid California Drivers’ License is required.


  • Must possess ability to work in a standard office setting and to use standard office equipment, including a computer, and strength to lift and carry materials weighing up to 20 pounds; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech to communicate in person and over the telephone.
  • Must be able to drive.
  • Must be able to hike rough terrain
  • Requires occasional evening and weekend work.


The Council strives to pay competitive salaries within the nonprofit community and compensation is based on experience. Benefits include paid vacation, holidays, sick leave, and medical, dental and vision coverage.


The Council is an equal opportunity employer and committed to a diverse team. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and salary objectives to and indicate “Trail Program Director” in the subject line. Please visit for more information about the Ridge Trail.

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