Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Park Ranger Job Advice

I recently received the below questions from a reader: 

 I am desperately seeking employment with the NPS.  I hold a bachelor's degree in history and wish to become an interpretation ranger.  I am also eligible for a 5-point veterans preference in the hiring process.  I have applied to as many jobs as I can through USA jobs.  Some of them I get rated eligible on, but never hear anything in return.  My professor advised me to start volunteering to make my resume more attractive.  I have been volunteering at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park for the last several months.  Do you have any advice or inside information on how to get hired quicker by the NPS?  

Thank you, 

It sounds like you are on your way to checking all the boxes to start your career.

Your professor has given you sound advise to get some volunteer experience.  It will greatly enhance your resume, show your dedicated intent, and aid in making contacts and getting yourself know to Park Service employees.

If it is permanent jobs you are applying for, it is very difficult to start there.  You are most likely competing with people with similar qualifications with the addition of seasonal or temporary employment experience on their record.  So keep those applications going, but consider seasonal employment opportunities to get a foot in the door.

Also look at locations that may not be on the top of your list.  Parks such as Independence in Philadelphia, The Statue of Liberty in New York,  The National Capital Parks in DC, and Jefferson Expansion (more commonly referred to as "The Arch") in St. Louis all have larger staffs and constant turn over.  These locations do more frequent hiring.  Many of the park rangers I worked with during my career started in these urban areas since that was where jobs were available.  Once your foot is in the door and you gain experience you can transfer to other areas that may be more appealing to your expectations. 

The key to the whole process is getting started with your first job.

Best of luck in the pursuit of your career aspirations.  

Bruce W. Bytnar

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blue Ridge Parkway May Not Open Facilities Next Year

I have written several times about the constant cutting of National Park Budgets.  An article in the Times Citizen from Asheville, North Carolina gives some specifics of what additional cuts will mean to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most visited unit in our National Park System.

During my thirty two year career the parks never had enough funds to do the job as expectations from politicians, managers, and the visiting public increased.  I know that Superintendent Phil Francis is being accurate and sincere in his statement that the Park is already down to a bear bones operation.

Read more at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

National Park Funding Threatened Again

A new report by the National Parks and Conservation Association highlights how the budget cuts being considered by the Super Committee in Congress will impact our National Parks.

Some interesting facts include:

Funding for National Park Budget accounts for 1/13 of one percent of the Federal budget

The existing appropriation for National Parks is already $400 million or 13% less than it was ten years ago.

In FY 2011 the operations budget for our parks was reduced by $11.5 million.  They are now facing more cuts.
You can learn more about this report by going to: