Ridge Trail Council – Trail Program Director or Trail Project Manager


Are you passionate about trails and the many benefits they offer? Are you a successful planner or community advocate and program director 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 (Program Director or Project Manager depending on qualifications) to lead or support Council trail 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, and with park agencies and other partners, volunteers, and advocates.


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 400 miles complete of the ultimate 550-mile loop.

The Council is a 30+ year stable nonprofit with a professional, well-respected staff, a dedicated and engaged Board of Directors, and an extensive cadre of volunteers. The office is in downtown San Francisco and remote work is possible. The expansive regional extent of the trail network requires an ability to travel throughout the Bay Area.


The successful candidate will lead the Council’s trail program including: setting goals and objectives, creating work plans, updating and implementing a comprehensive plan for trail build-out, formulating strategies to accelerate closing gaps, coordinating with key partners, grant and contract administration, and oversight of a trail database, maps and other analytical tools. The Program Director reports to the Executive Director, supervises other trail staff and works closely with the entire Ridge Trail team. The Trail Program Director works closely with land managers and other partners and advocates to promote our mission. This is an exempt position.

Note: The Council is open to flexible arrangements, including Program Director versus Project Manager level, less-than-full time and potentially multiple hires, and higher or lower levels of remote work, especially for focus in North or South Bay counties.


(May vary depending on position)

  • Develop annual trail work program including setting priorities, budgeting, managing workflow, and supervising program staff.
  • Oversee and implement our comprehensive Gap Analysis and Action Plan to close critical trail gaps.
  • Maintain information on trail development and communicate trail news, status, and funding 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.
  • Oversee in-house tools and work with consultants to support our trail database, printed and on-line planning and public maps and other tools.
  • Work with Ridge Trail staff, Board and committee members, and 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.
  • 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.


  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a relevant field of study such as land use or community planning, environmental science, or design.
  • Program Director: Minimum five years of related work experience in land use planning, community organizing, and/or natural resource management. Experience with program development, strategic planning, budgeting and grant administration. Familiarity with trail planning and nonprofits is preferred. At least 2 years of supervisory experience.
  • Project Manager: Minimum three years of related work experience in land use, planning, community organizing, and/or natural resource management and project management. Familiarity with trail planning is preferred.
  • Ability to exercise independent judgement and discretion.
  • Outstanding planning and analytical skills and an ability to manage multiple complex projects.
  • Ability to think strategically and to formulate creative solutions.
  • 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 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.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication 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 digital file sharing, GIS, and database management a plus.
  • Valid California Driver’s License and access to a car is required.


This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, and filing cabinets. Some evening and weekend work is required.


The employee is regularly required to talk and hear, and to sit or stand at a desk/computer terminal for extended periods time. The employee may be required to transport office products and supplies, or equipment of up to 25 pounds on natural surface trails. The position requires the ability to attend outdoor events and/or activities in varying weather and temperature conditions. Must be able to hike on uneven and/or rugged terrain.


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, vision coverage, and 401K. Salary range for Trail Program Director is $85-$95K, and for Trail Project Manager is $65-$80K.


The Council is an equal opportunity employer and committed to a diverse team. To apply, please send a cover letter, position desired (Program Director v. Project Manager), resume, and salary objectives to careers@ridgetrail.org and indicate “Trail Program” in the subject line.

Please visit www.ridgetrail.org for more information about the Ridge Trail.

The position is open until filled, but to facilitate review please apply by Aug 5.