Wrangell Mountains Center

A remote, off-grid nonprofit connecting people with wildlands through art, science and education in Alaska. We facilitate immersive wilderness experiences that are creative and educational.

We are an educational nonprofit in the wilderness, a remote off-grid campus in the middle of North America’s largest National Park. During our summer season, our on-site staff and volunteers are a part of a dynamic intentional community. We present programs and events for travelers and our local community to promote arts and sciences and stimulate personal epiphanies.

Located in the remote Wrangell Mountains, we straddle glaciers (you can hike them!), rivers (rafting opportunities), gorgeous alpine scenery (incredible hikes), an active local McCarthy community, and much more. You might need a second summer! IMPORTANT NOTE: Our zip code shows our location in Glennallen, Alaska. This is incorrect. Google “MCCARTHY ALASKA” for an accurate location.

Jobs in the Spotlight

Seeking a Kitchen Manager for our mission-driven non-profit in North America's largest National Park

  • summer

About Wrangell Mountains Center

The Wrangell Mountains Center is a community-based nonprofit organization located in an active local hub in McCarthy, Alaska, a small and rural remote town within the largest National Park in North America, Wrangell-St.Elias National Park. We are just minutes from the toe of the Kennicott Glacier, which can be easily accessed by foot.

We are mission-driven and are currently seeking professionals who wish to make the most of their expertise and skills, to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The Wrangell Mountains Center is a place-based organization seeking to provide and discover meaningful, ecologically informed alternative ways of being in the world, based on creativity, community, and scientific inquiry.

Our mission is to connect people with wildlands through art, science, and education. Serving students, writers, artists, scientists, travelers, and local citizens, our non-profit offers opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to explore, express themselves, and be transformed through direct experience with this extraordinary place.

We have a full and thriving campus where we live collaboratively and communally among staff, guests, and program participants; eating meals together, and sharing our spaces and our passions within unique and historic buildings. With two of some of the largest glaciers in Alaska in our backyard, staff have the ability to experience jaw-dropping landscapes on a daily basis. We value awareness and action around environmental justice and sustainability, and our campus is entirely off-grid. Staff are able to experience a simple and rustic approach to meeting basic needs conducive to a deeper personal connection to wildlands. 

The Wrangell Mountains Center has a full summer of programming including for-credit academic programs, educational summits, evening events, artist residencies, workshops, lectures, storytelling, and more while also hosting guests in our rustic accommodations. It is our staff's responsibility to provide for our program participants and guests to allow them the opportunity to maximize their experience and achieve their goals. 

Take a look at our 2023 programming schedule by visiting our website at wrangells.org

The Employee Experience

The employee experience is an incredibly dynamic one. Working for and living at the WMC will feel very similar to being in an intentional community. We eat together for most meals (optional but encouraged), we start our days together with breakfast and morning meetings and end them with dinner together. We encourage inclusivity, planning trips together, and engaging with each other in meaningful ways. We also host many program participants and guests and we encourage our staff to include them into our daily lives, always creating a welcoming space for all. Our campus is right on the main street of McCarthy, so there are frequent visits from tourists and our neighbors alike. Many of our neighbors will come by and have a conversation or share a meal with our staff. 

With such an intertwined experience of work/home life, we expect our staff to be proactive in respectful communication and show a willingness to resolve conflict in a compassionate way. These expectations will be displayed through our culture and supported by our leadership team. 

We highly value the off-grid experience, allowing staff the opportunity to fully engage with their basic needs, like starting fires in the morning upon waking, chopping and stacking firewood, gardening, and harvesting for our meals, increasing awareness of resource usage like our solar energy and our well water. Staff learn how to be an active participant in how they use resources for basic needs, increasing their appreciation for how resources are used.

We hope that at the end of the summer, staff will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the need to protect our environment and invite greater reflection into their consumption habits, contributing to a healthier planet. We also hope that our staff will leave with a greater understanding of how to live communally through productive conflict resolution and compassionate communication. 

Ideal Candidate

Our positions are ideally suited for someone who shares our values, is energized by our mission and vision, and can function effectively/professionally in an off-grid, wilderness setting with limited amenities.

Ideal candidates will:

  • Be reliable, flexible, organized, and attentive to detail
  • Have an interest in sustainability and communal living, and learning new skills
  • Have a familiarity with the local McCarthy and Kennicott communities
  • Have professional experience working seasonally (preferably in Alaska)
  • Have familiarity with living communally with fellow team members

Room and Board

The Wrangell Mountains Center will provide 3 (mostly vegetarian) meals a day along with primitive accommodations.

Although we are actively pursuing more housing, most staff lodging is in wall tents. (Managers may have options for indoor housing.) If you are not familiar with wall tents, please note that these are not your ordinary backpacking tents. They are made for longevity and daily use. Our canvas wall tents are sturdy and spacious (typically at least 10 ft x10 ft) with plenty of height to stand up straight and walk about. Wall tents are dry, come with furnishings, a hard floor, and a mattress for a bed. A few are even equipped with stoves. For many staff, a wall tent further helps them connect with the natural world. 

Additionally, staff will also have access to a quiet, staff-only heated lounge where they can enjoy personal space, work, practice yoga, and otherwise relax and refresh.

There are typically three nutritious meals per day, mostly vegetarian. We seek to provide abundant energy for our staff and program participants: folks burn a lot of calories out here in the summer!

We are located in a premium destination, prized for its epic beauty, geological features, and unique small-town community of self-sufficient homesteaders. Even residents of Alaska, surrounded as they are by epic scenery, choose to vacation in the Wrangell Mountains. We estimate that the value of our accommodations are approximately $1,200/month.

Employee Perks

WMC employees are given extensive discounts on local tours and outdoor activities. We have several adventure companies in our small town including Wrangell Mountain Air, McCarthy River Tours, and Kennicott Wilderness Guides who will be happy to welcome you to McCarthy for the summer and offer you discounts (and sometimes free) tours. 

Getting Here and Getting Around

McCarthy is a remote town within a national park. It is an 8 hour drive from Anchorage (2 of those hours being on unpaved roads that consistently incur flooding, washouts, and landslides during the beginning and end of the summer season). Furthermore, the town itself is inaccessible by vehicle unless you are in possession of a local bridge key. There is parking before the bridge and about a mile from our campus on one of our small neighboring properties. It is for this reason that we do not encourage candidates to bring a vehicle but we can still accommodate for parking if necessary. 

Once you are in the town of McCarthy and past the walking bridge, everything is mostly within walking distance. In order to get to Kennicott from McCarthy (about 4 miles) there are free daily shuttles that operate every half hour and pickup directly across from our campus. 

We will have the ability to pick up our staff members from Anchorage in our company van to transport them to McCarthy. Transportation to and lodging in Anchorage will not be provided. 

For Fun

There is an abundance of outdoor activities to take part in, here in the Wrangells. Within McCarthy, staff can walk to the local swimming hole, to the toe of the Kennicott Glacier, hike the McCarthy River trail, and more. With a short shuttle ride into Kennicott, staff can access the Root Glacier and several other hikes up the mountains along with overnight trips. With Wrangell Mountain Air, staff can organize backcountry drop-offs and camping trips. With McCarthy River Tours, staff can organize rafting trips on the Kennicott River. 

The WMC also has many community events taking place on our campus. Staff have the opportunity to share their creativity and expression through biweekly WordJams, community groups like Field Sketching and Photography Groups, and open-mic nights at the local bar. There are many musicians in town and impromptu jams break out often! Two of the local restaurants also host visiting bands and musicians on a weekly basis. 

During the summer, our small community hosts hundreds of seasonal employees and visitors, giving the town an incredibly vibrant and active feel- the opposite of what you might expect from a small rural, and remote community!

The Adventure List:

  • Hiking and Walks
  • Alpine hikes with opportunities to see copper mines from a hundred years past
  • River rafting
  • Pack rafting
  • Flightseeing in a little bush plane
  • Backcountry, fly-out trips — Discounted but still several hundreds of dollars. Well worth it if you can afford it and can coordinate the scheduling.
  • Glacier hiking
  • Ice climbing on the Kennicott Glacier
  • Exploring historic Kennicott (run by the National Park Service)
  • McCarthy-Kennicott Museum in downtown McCarthy — small but highly recommended
  • The Old Hardware Store on the WMC campus also has a small library as well as an art room, and these are available for your use on a rainy day or a mellow morning.
  • Socializing w/ locals at McCarthy restaurants like The Potato and The Golden Saloon, which are located a short walk from the WMC. 
  • A very active amount of weekend concerts and other local events
  • A big-deal Fourth of July weekend, in which the WMC participates with our Interdependence Day celebration.
  • Friday night community softball near to downtown McCarthy and WMC
  • There is also a local swimming hole about a half mile from the WMC
  • In addition to all of the above, there is a steady stream of activities hosted by the WMC: author readings, arts and science-oriented workshops, small living room concerts, and a storytelling festival, to name a few. The WMC also has a good guitar in the Old Hardware Store, available for any skilled musician to use.

How to Apply

Please fill out an application on our website.  Although we have an employee application, we highly encourage applicants to include their resume and cover letter. 

All other questions or inquiries can be directed to sabrina@wrangells.org.


Contact Wrangell Mountains Center