Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

The Ancient Forest
Jawbone Flats - A Historic Mining Town
Outdoor School
Teaching in the Oregon Wilderness
Outdoor Science Instructors on our summer scouting trip
The Jawbone Kitchen
The Jawbone Kitchen food and coffee donations
Hydroelectric Pelton Power - photo credit Bill Coit

Live and work in the Oregon Wilderness!

The Opal Creek watershed is 35,000 acres of protected rainforest, part of the last remaining low-elevation old-growth forest left in the Pacific Northwest. At its center is the historic off-grid mining town of Jawbone Flats, our base of operations since the Opal Creek Wilderness was created in 1996.

Jawbone Flats is a 15-acre private in-holding bordered on the north by the Opal Creek Wilderness and on the south, east, and west by the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area.

About Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

All of our work is based around one simple idea: people will protect what they care about, and they will care about what they know. Through our outdoor school, summer camps, and workshop programs, we bring kids and adults face-to-face with the outdoor places that make Oregon great—pristine mountain streams, uncut vistas, and old-growth forests.

The Employee Experience

As an employee, you live and work in the heart of the Opal Creek Wilderness. You interact with guests and hikers who remind you, “wow, you are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place!” These interactions happen in the flow of a work day and also on your way to the shower. Work and life are intertwined in Jawbone Flats.

You live in a community of a dozen people. Whether you are a member of the program team: educating kids and adults with the old growth forest as your classroom, the kitchen team: nourishing students and guests with seasonal, vegetarian, and house-made fare, or the facilities team: maintaining and upgrading the off-grid mining town, you work with everyone to support our mission while enjoying the perks and overcoming the challenges that come with remote living.

Ideal Candidate

You are enticed by Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center’s mission and how that connects to your work.

A remote residential living and working environment intrigues you. You look forward to disconnecting from distraction and forming strong bonds with staff, guests, and the wilderness in your backyard.

You are always learning. You are curious and unafraid to ask questions.

You thrive in a collaborative environment, believing we are stronger together.

You embrace a challenge; you are open to and excited by the unpredictability that comes with working in a 1929 mining town in the woods.

You thrive in a collaborative environment. You value working on teams with diverse perspectives and identities.

You like solving problems. You find you make quick and confident decisions, even in ambiguous situations.

You have your own unique interests. Perhaps you play a musical instrument or practice bird calls. You enjoy solo time in your cabin and social staff barbecues.

Room and Board

Housing is provided on site – either a private room or a private cabin – with a shared bathroom/shower. Utilities are also provided in the form of solar or hydroelectric power. When we have meals for guests you are welcome to eat in our lodge (about 75% of the time), but when there are no meals you are on your own. There is a cooking space in your private housing.

Employee Perks

Most employees believe the biggest benefits are our close-knit community and our amazing backyard.

Other benefits include: 50% discount on all Opal Creek programs and cabin rentals for you and your immediate family, 50% off Opal Creek merchandise for you and your immediate family, and a schedule that is not your typical 9-5 job.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Jawbone Flats is very remote. If you choose to bring a vehicle, it is a 2.5 hour drive to Portland, 1.5 hours to Salem, and 1 hour to the nearest grocery store. All vehicles are parked on site in Jawbone Flats. If you do not have a vehicle – and a few of our staff do not – you make fast friends with other employees who have vehicles. Initial transportation from PDX airport to Jawbone Flats can be arranged.

Although the commute to city comforts may be long, the commute to work and play is quite short. Your work is a quick walk from your living space, all within the 15 acres of Jawbone Flats.

For Fun

For the adventurous: go hiking and backpacking from your doorstep, jump into crystal-clear pools, creek walk up secret streams, and seek out undiscovered places.

For relaxation: yoga, meditation, reading, napping, and painting all come with a view.

For the nerd: the Opal Creek Wilderness is your classroom, too. Borrow a field guide and learn the staggering diversity of plants, lichens and mosses, mushrooms, amphibians, and birds that inhabit the old growth forest.

And of course, much time is spent with your co-workers/friends for game nights, barbecues, exploration, and porch conversations.

How to Apply

Visit our website for current job openings. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Megan Selvig, Program Director, at mselvig@opalcreek.org. There are two rounds of interviews for each position, and positions are open until filled.

We are an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Contact Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center