Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program (WSCP)


Managing wilderness is different from managing any other public land. The unique considerations and requirements of designated wilderness areas necessitate an in-depth understanding of the Wilderness Act, both in text and in spirit. Born out of a collaboration between the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center and the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public lands at Indiana University, the Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program (WSCP) exists to support wilderness professionals and those who work in related areas.

The WSCP mission is to develop and strengthen the wilderness stewardship capacity in nonprofit and federal, state, and local government agencies through a mixture of online and guided study for individuals engaged in wilderness stewardship. Their suite of online courses, one-on-one mentoring by wilderness experts, and action-based learning components comprise the premier training program for anyone interested in stewarding our wilderness areas.

Program Goals

The WSCP was developed with the following goals:

  • to provide proactive and strategic succession management and provision of personal growth opportunities among youth aspiring to work in wilderness and backcountry areas
  • to advance wilderness stewardship as a profession through continuing professional development
  • to create a community of practice among wilderness professionals by accelerating the spread of ideas, encouraging innovation, and providing a forum for peer-to-peer collaboration across land management agencies


A new certificate, Fundamentals of Wilderness Stewardship, is now available as part of the WSCP for wilderness managers, stewards, researchers, volunteers, backcountry guides, students, and those interested in working in wilderness areas.

The certificate in Fundamentals of Wilderness Stewardship requires successful completion of four e-courses, their related assignments, and a final capstone assignment. A mentor is matched with each student and stays in communication with the student through their completion of the certificate. The next class begins in October 2016.

Certificates Coming Soon

Certificates are being developed in the following areas:

  • Wilderness Planning
  • Wilderness Visitor Use Management
  • Wilderness Natural Resource Management
  • Wilderness Cultural-Paleo Resource Management
  • Managing Special Provisions for Wilderness

These specialty certificates build upon each other and vary in complexity, allowing students to progress through the learning experience in a logical manner – from learning, practice and examination, to application and assessment.


Students register for a certificate course of study via the Eppley Institute’s online learning catalog. Once registered, the journey begins with an introductory email from WSCP and a mentor assignment. Over the next four months, the WSCP student and mentor progress through a competency-based program at their agreed-upon pace.

Students have up to four months to complete all coursework and earn a certificate in wilderness stewardship. An outline of the certificates’ course of study can be viewed here.

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