• Tour Guide/Interpretation • Visitor Information
Photo Courtesy of NPS
Crater Lake National Park is seeking volunteers to present interpretive programs (ranger talks, boat tours, trolley tours, and junior ranger activities) from June to September. This is a great opportunity to work outdoors, with the public, in one of America’s most beautiful and fascinating places.
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 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 plant and animal species, including some that are rare and endangered. The park is central to the cultural traditions of several American Indian tribes and is an important place for scientific research. Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park is the 5th-oldest National Park Service site in America, enjoyed by more than 700,000 visitors annually.
Summer at Crater Lake:
Summers at Crater Lake are short but spectacular. Most of the park is covered by snow until late June. July and August bring beautiful displays of wildflowers. In July and August, daytime highs average 69 degrees and lows 41. Days are generally sunny, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. The park’s East Rim Drive opens in July, allowing visitors to complete a scenic, 33-mile loop around Crater Lake. Other activities include hiking, bicycling, fishing, swimming, camping, and skygazing. The park has 2 lodges, 2 campgrounds, and 3 restaurants.
Volunteer Park Ranger (Interpretation)
The position will start on June 4. We're looking for volunteers who can stay at least through September 3 and ideally through September 16 (or later, if desired). Volunteers will work 5 days per week, 8 hours per day, typically starting at 9:00 a.m. Both individuals and couples are welcome to apply.
We expect to utilize 3 volunteers to supplement our paid staff of approximately 14 seasonal rangers. Our volunteers perform the same duties as our seasonal rangers. It’s hard work, but past volunteers have found it to be very rewarding. The season will begin with 3 weeks of training and team-building. Volunteers will receive training in interpretation, geology, lake ecology, forest ecology, human history, CPR, first aid, and boat operations. They will hear from park scientists and observe sample programs from our returning, experienced staff. Volunteers will then spend approximately 70% of their time preparing and presenting programs to the visiting public: a 20-minute "ranger’s choice" talk on a subject of their own choosing, a 2-hour guided boat tour covering a wide variety of natural and cultural history topics, a 2-hour guided trolley tour on a similar array of subjects, and a 20-minute junior ranger activity for kids. (Note: Giving boat tours requires hiking down and back up a strenuous, 1-mile trail, with an elevation change of 700 feet, several times each week.) If time permits, volunteers may also choose to develop a guided hike and/or a PowerPoint evening program. Other duties include staffing the park’s visitor centers (15%), roving viewpoints and hiking trails (5%), answering phone calls and emails (5%), and miscellaneous projects (5%).
We are seeking applicants who have strong customer service skills and some public speaking experience (or at least ability). Natural history knowledge is helpful, but more important is the ability to communicate in a clear, friendly, and enthusiastic way with people of diverse ages and backgrounds. These attributes are essential: a positive attitude, a patient disposition, a desire to learn about and explore the park, enthusiasm for serving the public, and a strong work ethic. Volunteers must be able to absorb a great deal of information during seasonal training and quickly use that information to develop their interpretive programs. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a valid driver’s license, and must pass a drug test before the season starts. (These three requirements are because of Coast Guard regulations; when presenting boat tours, the volunteer will serve as a crew member on the Coast Guard-approved tour boats.) Volunteers must also be willing to wear an NPS volunteer uniform.
Volunteers are given free housing (see below) and reimbursed $15 for each day worked.
Crater Lake National Park is relatively remote. The nearest supermarkets and major shopping facilities are 60 miles away in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Reliable personal transportation is recommended. This position requires living and working at elevations of 6,400 to 7,700 feet above sea level. Nearby attractions include Redwood National & State Parks, Lava Beds National Monument, Oregon Caves 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 and 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 20-30 applications for our 3 positions. There is no application deadline, but we plan to begin reviewing applications at the end of February. Thanks for your interest!
HOUSING & AMENITIES Type: Cabins Description:
Housing is provided free of charge. The volunteer will live in a furnished house within walking distance (6 minutes) of work. Pets are not allowed in these units. Each house has 2 bathrooms, 2 single bedrooms, and 1 bedroom with two beds. The volunteer will probably have to share a double bedroom with another new employee. (Single bedrooms are given to returning employees.) Each house has a washer & dryer (free of charge), free local phone calls, free satellite TV, and free wireless internet (computer not provided). Internet access is also available on government computers at the visitor center. The volunteer will have access to the park’s physical fitness center, which is also outfitted with satellite TV. The park also has several RV sites, with hookups, that may be available for volunteers who have their own trailers or motorhomes.