Caribou Gear

Anyone work for the national park service?


Well-known member
Sep 4, 2011
So not sure if I am going through a mid life crisis or what, but I'm tired of my job. I can retire in 6 years I will be 49 and not ready to totally quit working. I can stay at my company and keep working I am just ready for a change. So my question is how is it working for one of the national parks? I would mainly be interested in a seasonal type job for the most part. We are not 100% sure where we want to retire but just curious if anyone does this and what their experience has been?
My wife worked 9 summers at the North unit of TR. She loved it. Now if it had been at a more popular park she may not have liked it nearly as much. Her advice to you if you go this rout is to apply to the lesser known parks.
I worked for NPS for 8 years. It was fun work and I got to do things I'll never get to do the rest of my career, like work with brown bears and wolves. I worked in a park with few visitors. In the park service, if you don't have visitors you tend not to have issues. So you get to do fun stuff like research. Rather than being a bear cop around a bunch of camera happy tourists I got to put GPS collars on bears and follow their movements in a plane Depending on the park, I could see working for NPS again but definitely wouldn't work for a highly visited park.
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Thanks guys. I figured there might be some people with experience with this on here. Thank you for the replies
I worked at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park for six months and it was a blast. Got to climb all those big peaks and hike all the trails. I was young at the time, but I worked with lots of "retired" folks who lived in the employee RV park and worked seasonally. Seemed like a pretty cool deal.

Then this week I was down in Yellowstone and the guy driving the shuttle boat to the Southeast Arm of Yellowstone Lake was a retired guy from Mississippi who had been coming to Yellowstone and driving the boat for 18 years. He also lived in an employee RV park. Every September he packs up and goes back to Mississippi. Loves it and is somewhat of a local legend among people who like to frequent the backcountry around Yellowstone Lake.

Note both these experiences are working for concessionaires, not the actual park service. Just another option to consider.

Anyway that's my two cents. :)
For six months I volunteered for an organization that partners with the NPS. I got to know all the NP staff and interns at a small park. The best part for me was my off time. Explored the park and surrounding area in depth, wildlife viewing, photography, mountain biking, swimming, floating the river, tent camping, star-gazing, fossil and rock/mineral finding, etc. Lots of fun looking for sheds and visiting numerous historical sites from the 19th century. By the time hunting season rolled around I knew the preferred habitats and land use of the mammals and birds there. If I have one piece of advise it’s pick a park that is less popular to avoid the masses of annoying tourists 😁
I grew up in Mammoth Hot Springs, WY at the Yellowstone Park headquarters. As a kid, I knew I liked the place. Leaving home for college made me realize how fortunate I had been and what blessing that time was. My parents lived there for 32 years. They had friends and colleagues who spent their careers in the parks. I can’t remember many who didn’t love their work and the places they lived. Yellowstone is hardly a lesser-known park, but it was awesome. I hope you get the chance.
I started I thread about retirement a few weeks back. Although it was more along the lines of full retirement, I’ve thought about the route that you’re interested in as well. I wouldn’t have to move to do it. My only concern is that I want to hunt and travel a lot.

Had some great campground hosts as a Park Ranger.
2 couples came for years to work and live near the coast.
One from St. Louis and one from MT.
The show me folks were in their 70's and worked hard. The guy was a Vet & had one arm and never asked for a everyday joke. His wife was a sweetheart hairdresser, always had a smile and offered me food daily.
The Mt couple came from west Yellowstone /Gardener during the winter. Great fishing partners in a kids cove project. They bought dozens of rods for kids every year. Never asked for a dime.

Both worked 40 hrs and just wanted a campsite.
Just thinking of them brought a smile to my face today.
They threw a giant bbq party for me when I left .
Besides the National Parks, the Forest Service, BLM and state parks department all offer seasonal jobs. A couple of years ago I was hunting on land owned by a large timber company when I was approached by the head of their security department. It turned out that he had just recently retired as the chief of the Oregon State Police wildlife division and gone to work for the timber company. He said he loved his old job but now it was so much more relaxing to get paid to just drive around in the forest and talk to the people he meets. We stood there and BSed about hunting and other related topics for a good hour or better while he was on the clock the whole time.
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