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 It Just Feels Good
Okay so gas prices are high. You were gonna do a lot of traveling this summer after sitting still most of the winter and now it feels like crunch time. Why not sit still then. Do something fun while sitting still. Volunteer in one of our state or national parks. 

You have to know that the budget cuts in the government (state and federal) hurt. And which department gets cut first? Recreation. The parks need you. Just think for a minute. What could be better than parking in a pristine setting as a campground host. The work is simple, and the hours are short. You won't have to pay for a campsite (which you must agree will help your budget) and you are not cruising down the highway which further helps the budget. 

Here are some more benefits. You meet nice people who love the out of doors like you do. Everyone is nice when on vacation so you aren't dealing with frazzled people as a rule. You will learn a little about the park you are hosting in just by osmosis but if you are curious you can learn more. Volunteer to work a little extra in the visitor center and scan the books while you are waiting for customers. 

If you'd like a bigger challenge, apply to give tours, plant flowers, sort slides in the office or whatever. There are as many jobs to do in a park as there are in most businesses and they love volunteers to help any way they can. The National Park has changed their web site a bit and it was hard to find the volunteer list, but I found it and share it here. Current volunteer positions in the National Park.

For example the Appomattox County Courthouse needs:
The following have been copied from the NPS web site so I could paste them here.
Park Maintenance:

1.)Historic Structure Maintenance: Provide preventative maintenance to historic 19th Century houses and outbuildings: painting, woodwork, and carpentry.

2.) Historic Landscape Maintenance: Preserves historic vistas and vegetation: Mowing, brush clearing, pruning, seasonal planting, control of exotic species, maintenance of monuments.

3.)Trail Maintenance: Keep the Park's six miles of hiking trails safe and accessible: Brush cutting, erosion control, general maintenance, erecting signage and blazes, grooming trail surface.

Or you could Become a Revegetation Volunteer at Grand Canyon National Park.

Just look at the opportunities to volunteer at Mt Rainier National Park.

Time Committment
VIP jobs can be full-time (minimum 32 hours per week), part-time (minimum 16 hours per week), or intermittent (one day to many days during the year).

EXAMPLES OF VOLUNTEER POSITIONS:

    · Aquatic Ecology Interns
    · Campground Hosts
    · Climbing Aides - Tahoma Unit
    · Ecologist/Biologic/Botanical Assistants
    · Geology-in-Parks Interpreter
    · Greenhouse Assistants
    · Historical Architecture Intern
    · Interpretive Naturalist
    · Librarian/Curatorial Aid
    · Maintenance Response Team Assistant
    · Meadow Restoration
    · Meadow Rovers at Paradise & Sunrise
    · Natural Resources Assistant
    · Nordic Ski Patrol
    · Ranger Assistants
    · Revegetation/Planting Projects
    · Roadside Assistance
    · Trail Repair & Maintenance
    · Trails Assistant
    · Visitor Information Assistants
    · Visitor Services & Protection
    · Wilderness Ranger Assistant

If not this summer, do it next summer. Volunteering feels good, it is good for the pocket book and great for our parks. Oh and let me know where you decide to volunteer. 


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