May is upon us and so begins the annual migration of seasonal park rangers to our National Parks. This month many National Park Service areas will be bringing on duty the majority of their temporary seasonal park rangers to work visitor centers, campgrounds, patrol roads and trails, and provide emergency medical, fire, and rescue operations.
These park rangers show up with unbounded enthusiasm and with many hopes. It is energizing for year round employees to see new seasonal rangers arriving for training. Their passion is contagious and they show up anxious to start their work helping to educate and protect visitors. When you visit a National Park it is most likely that the park ranger you meet will be a seasonal employee.
Seasonal park rangers come from a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience.
There are the college students working in the parks for the summer to gain experience and help pay for school. Many are hopeful of future opportunities that could develop into full time permanent National Park Service employment.
There are teachers who escape the classroom to the outdoors to refresh their outlook on life, supplement their meager income, and grow in ways that can provide enhanced experiences that can be brought back to the classroom.
Increasingly you will find retirees from a first career now working in National Parks as seasonal park rangers. Many are taking advantage of this opportunity to live a dream they have had since childhood of working as a park ranger.
Returning military veterans will also be found working as seasonal park rangers attempting to establish themselves back in civilian life and perhaps start a new career.
There are many others who will work this summer as seasonal park rangers. They all share the sense of adventure and dedication that is necessary to achieve the mission of the National Park Service to preserve and protect our nation’s resources for future generations.
Thanks seasonals for all you do.