• Office/Clerical • Tour Guide/Interpretation • Visitor Information
Photo Courtesy of NPS
Crater Lake National Park is seeking volunteers to operate the Steel Visitor Center and lead guided snowshoe walks this fall, winter, and spring. It’s a unique opportunity to live, work, and play in a winter wonderland (43 feet of snow in an average year!) on the slopes of a sleeping volcano.
Crater Lake National Park preserves the deepest lake in the United States. Fed by rain and snow (but no rivers or streams), the lake is considered to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world. The lake rests inside a 5-mile-wide caldera, formed 7,700 years ago when a 12,000-foot-tall volcano collapsed following a major eruption. Later eruptions formed Wizard Island, a cinder cone near the southwest shore. Today, old-growth forests blanket the volcano's outer slopes, harboring a wide variety of wildlife. Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park is the 5th-oldest National Park Service site in America, enjoyed by 700,000 visitors annually.
Fall/Winter/Spring at Crater Lake:
Crater Lake is one of the snowiest inhabited places in America. Despite the heavy snowfall, the park has relatively mild winter temperatures, with daily highs averaging 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. From November to June, the park’s North Entrance Road and 33-mile Rim Drive are closed to cars. Highway 62 and the road to Rim Village are open all year. The park offers excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding.
Volunteer Park Ranger (Interpretation)
Dates & Hours:
We have 4 positions available: 2 in the "early winter" and 2 in the "late winter." Early winter volunteers will start on November 9 and serve through February 18. Late winter volunteers will start on February 1 and serve through April 30 (or longer, if desired). Volunteers will serve 6 to 8 hours per day, depending on visitor center hours. (From early November to mid-April the visitor center is open 6 hours a day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; duty hours are 9:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The rest of the year the visitor center is open 8 hours a day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; duty hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) The workweek is typically 5 days on, 2 days off, then 4 days on, 3 days off. Both individuals and couples are welcome to apply, but couples will not be able to share the same days off.
The volunteer will spend about 80% of their time operating the Steel Visitor Center at Park Headquarters. In the fall, winter, and spring, the visitor center receives between 0 and 500 visitors daily. The volunteer will orient visitors to the park, provide information on recreational opportunities, show the park film, and answer questions about the park’s natural and cultural history. The volunteer will also provide information via phone, mail, and e-mail. The visitor center receives an average of 40 phone calls, 5 letters, and 10 emails per day. The volunteer will operate a cash register, collect park entrance fees, and handle sales of books, postcards, and other merchandise. The volunteer will also issue backcountry permits to overnight skiers and snowshoers.
The volunteer will spend about 20% of their time preparing and presenting guided snowshoe walks to the public. Snowshoe walks are offered every Saturday and Sunday (and some weekdays) from late November through the end of April. The walks are 2 hours long, moderately strenuous, and limited to 30 people per group. There is no cost for the tour, and snowshoes are provided free of charge. Last year, the park led 113 snowshoe walks for a total of 2,423 people. The volunteer will be provided training in interpretation, winter safety, and winter ecology.
As time and skills permit, the volunteer may also have opportunities to assist with special projects. These may include creating visitor center exhibits, updating and/or writing park handouts, and writing social media posts.
We are seeking applicants who have strong customer service skills and some public speaking experience (or at least ability). Applicants must have a positive attitude, a friendly disposition, the patience to deal with repetitive questions and tasks, and enthusiasm for serving the public. The volunteer must be able to learn quickly and work independently; they will often be staffing the visitor center alone. The volunteer must be willing to wear a volunteer uniform, shovel snow, and live in a remote, mountainous location with frequent storms and roads that can be snow-packed and icy. Computer skills are helpful, along with an interest in ecology, winter recreation, and resource interpretation.
This position is rated "strenuous." While leading snowshoe walks, the volunteer will be breaking trail through deep snow. Applicants should be in average-or-better physical shape, with no breathing or walking limitations.
Volunteers are given free housing (see below) and reimbursed $15 for each day worked.
Crater Lake National Park is relatively remote, especially in the winter. The nearest supermarkets and major shopping facilities are 60 miles away in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Reliable personal transportation is strongly recommended. This position requires living and working at altitudes of 6,400 to 7,100 feet above sea level. Nearby attractions include Redwood National & State Parks, Lava Beds National Monument, and the Oregon coast.
How to Apply:
Applicants are encouraged to e-mail a cover letter and resume to David_Grimes@nps.gov or mail to Dave Grimes, Park Ranger, PO Box 7, Crater Lake, OR 97604. Please include your dates of availability, whether you would prefer to volunteer in the "early winter" or "late winter" (as described above), and a list of 3 references with phone numbers. You may also apply online, through this website, but preference will be given to applicants who apply directly. We typically receive 30-40 applications for our 4 positions. We will begin evaluating applications in early October. Thanks for your interest!
HOUSING & AMENITIES Type: Cabins Description:
Housing is provided free of charge. The volunteer will live in a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house within walking distance (6 minutes) of the Steel Visitor Center. The volunteer will have a private bedroom but will have one or two housemates. The house has a washer & dryer (free of charge) and free satellite TV (with a limited selection of channels). There is no cell phone reception, but the house has free wireless internet and a landline with free local calls. Internet access is also available on government computers at the visitor center after work hours. The volunteer will have access to the park’s physical fitness center, which is outfitted with satellite TV. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate volunteers with RVs in the winter due to deep snow, and pets are not allowed in volunteer housing.