Camp Host US
with the National Park Service for Working RVers
Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has been dedicated to the preservation and management of this country’s outstanding natural, historical, and recreational areas. Today the National Park Service encompasses more than 360 sites across the United States and in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
There are parks of great natural beauty and grandeur, such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone; parks that preserve the nation's cultural and historical treasures, such as Mesa Verde and Gettysburg Battlefield; parks of significant recreational value along seashores, lakeshores, and riverways, providing opportunities for outdoor activities, such as Assateague Island and Lake Mead.
The National Park Service is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior; do not confuse it with the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.
Every year, millions of people from the United States and abroad visit our national park areas. To protect park resources and to serve the public, the National Park Service employs a permanent workforce and an essential seasonal workforce. Seasonals are hired every year to help permanent staff at many National Park Service parks and offices.
A variety of positions may be available:
• campground rangers • tour guides • lifeguards • carpenters
• fee collectors • landscape architects • firefighters • laborers
• historians • naturalists • law enforcement rangers • clerks
People are hired for these seasonal jobs and more. Whatever the job, seasonal employees have the opportunity to learn more about the National Park Service and its mission.
Seasonal jobs are limited. The number of applicants far outnumbers the position available every year, particularly at larger, well-known parks.
In the summer season, when most seasonal employees are hired, employment opportunities are extremely competitive. However, there are excellent opportunities, especially for applicants who have qualifying law enforcement experience or training.
Most seasonal positions require irregular hours of work, including weekends, holidays, and evenings.
Entry-level grades for National Park Service seasonal positions generally range from the GS-2 to GS-7. GS levels indicate the rate of pay for most federal government positions. For current salary information for these grades, check with any federal agency or the Office of Personnel Management in that geographic area where you desire employment.
Most seasonal employees are required to wear the official Park Service uniform; specific requirements and ordering information are contained in the employment package forwarded to successful applicants. For positions requiring a uniform, an allowance is allotted which partially covers its cost.
Address specific questions about housing, area living conditions, and similar matters to the park or office where you desire employment.
Recruitment for certain positions is centralized: park ranger, guide, visitor use assistant. Applying for these jobs requires a special computerized form, a 10-139, Application for Seasonal Employment. Copies of that form, including the list of parks hiring for a particular season, are available from the National Park Service’s Seasonal Employment Program office.
Although the National Park System reports to be an Equal Opportunity Employer, some preferences are given. Some positions are filled by experienced seasonal employees who have worked previously for the NPS. Office of Personnel Management regulations require that veterans of the United States Armed Forces may be given preference.
Information, including the necessary forms will be sent to you when your letter, e-mail message, or telephone inquiry is received.
All applicants must complete the required forms and file them with the Seasonal Employment Program during the specified filing period. The filing period for winter employment is June 1 through (postmarked by) July 15. The filing period summer employment is November 15 through (postmarked by) January 15.
Other types of positions may be available in National Park Service parks and offices. Contact the park or office where you are interested in working for information.
In addition, hotels, lodges, restaurants, stores, transportation services, marinas, and many other visitor facilities in National Parks may have positions available. These facilities are operated by private companies and individuals called park concessionaires who recruit and hire their own employees.
Jobs with the concessionaires are not federal government positions. Concessionaires usually pay the minimum wage set by the state in which their operation is located. Although some pay a small bonus at the end of the season, they usually do not arrange or pay for travel to and from the parks.
The National Park Service Regional Office for the geographic region in which you want to work, or the park itself, can provide names and addresses of concessionaires. Contact the concessionaire for applications and information about concession jobs, salaries, and working and living conditions.
The address and contact information for the National Park System is:
Seasonal Employment Program
Human Resources Office
National Park Service
P.O. Box 37127
Mail Stop 2225
Washington DC 20013-7127
Information for this article is courtesy of the National Park System website, http://www.nps.gov.