Bay Area Ridge Trail – Program Director/Trail Program Manager

Are you passionate about trails and the many benefits they offer? Are you a successful planner or community advocate and program director or 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. The Program Director reports to the Executive Director and works closely with a team of 7 staff, including supervising staff, and with park agencies, land trusts and district partners, private landowners, and other stakeholders to promote our mission.

The successful candidate will take a leadership role in the Council’s trail program including: planning and prioritizing trail development, updating a comprehensive plan for trail build-out, formulating strategies and solutions to accelerate closing gaps, coordinating with key partners, grant and contract administration, and oversight of mapping, trail database and other analytical tools. Depending on the applications received and level of candidates’ experience, the open position may be filled at a Program Director or Trail Program Manager level.


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 375+ 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. The expansive regional extent of the trail network requires an ability to travel throughout the Bay Area.


  • Develop annual trail work program (Program Director) including setting priorities and goals, budgeting, manage workflow, & supervise program staff.
    • Oversee an investigation and analysis of critical trail gaps and implement gap closure strategies.
  • Help develop and implement a comprehensive trail development master plan.
  • Maintain information on trail development and communicate trail 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 multi-year 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, Board and 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 conceptualize and 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.


  • Program Director: Minimum seven years of directly related work experience in land use planning, community organizing, and/or natural resource management. Experience in long-term strategic planning and program development
  • Trail Program Manager: Minimum four years of directly related work experience in land use planning, community organizing, and/or natural resource management. Experience in project and/or program management.
  • Ability to think strategically and to formulate creative solutions.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Strong organizational and relationship building skills and ability to effectively collaborate and communicate with diverse stakeholders.
  • 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 “Program Director” or “Trail Program Manager” in the subject line. Please visit for more information about the Ridge Trail.