14 Replies Latest reply on Jul 12, 2013 11:38 AM by sinjin

    Nat'l Park Volunteer

      Has any retired couple tried being a volunteer at a National Park?
      I'm thinking of spending a summer with my wife as a volunteer at a National Park  out west.  We live on the east coast, so this would involve lodging.
      Just curious to learn about the experience from others who may have tried it.
        • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
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          • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
            This is a very interesting topic and something that I had never thought of before.  I will be looking forward to someone replying to this.  What a great idea!
            • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
              I have not volunteered at a National Park but, in a similar vein, my daughter once participated in a program that paid (a minimal amount) for seasonal employees to work at such places. As the ski season ended at Flagstaff, AZ, she took a job at Denali National Park in Alaska. The job agreement provided room and board, along with free access to any opportunities the park offered. The only real expense she had was her transportation.
              • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
                A of mine and his wife worked for the concessionaire at Yellowstone for a couple of summers.    He enjoyed it very much, his wife less so.   It was a nice way to spend the summer in the park and make a few dollars at the same time.
                Volunteer opportunities are available through the Student Conservation Association (they have many, many summer opportunities on their web site).   SCA is very student oriented, but I don't think you have to be a student.
                And of course most state park systems and many national forests have opportunities for campground hosts.   You camp free and usually get some meal money in return for some light maintenance and being around to help campers.'
                • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
                  volunteer.gov gives you the opportunity to check out places all over the US at national parks and recreation areas.  Some places have lodging available and some do not.  I've never done this but it's on my bucket list once I retire.
                  • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
                    Its been a few years, but I volunteered with the Forest Service during the summer. I helped out their interpretative rangers, doing wildflower walks, fire safety, nighttime astronomy ... It was interesting, but a bit tedious after a while.
                    • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
                      This is my dream retirement job--but want to volunteer in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Since I work at a post graduate doctoral college i'm thinking of renting my house out to a student couple just to try it for a year. Just wish I was a little closer to retirement.  Four more years to go.
                      • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
                        After I retired I bought a RV and live in it full time.  I worked as a volunteer for the Corp of Engineers at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in North Carolina for the summer of 2012.  I found the opportunity on volunteer.gov.  As a volunteer and got my site will electricity, water and sewer hookups at no cost for manning a gatehouse two days a week and helping with special projects.  I was not paid. 
                        The rangers, contract workers and other volunteers were wonderful people.  It was a terrific experience.
                        I would encourage you not to limit your scope to National Parks but consider all state and federal  opportunities that match your interests.  Before accepting a position check out the facility, the locale and read the job description carefully.
                        • Re: Nat'l Park Volunteer
                          My husband and I volunteered last fall at the [URL=http://www.nps.gov/gree/index.htm] Greenbelt Park [/URL] campground. It was such a great experience we are returning again this year. We had planned on becoming camphosts at a National or State Park once we retired and were lucky to get a position our first year. It was all we hoped it would be and more! Go for it.