Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

5 Outstanding Reasons to Work in A National Park

Kelcy Fowler

Many Americans dream of visiting their National Parks. Here are five great reasons why you should do yourself a favor and trade that vacation of a lifetime for a seasonal job in a National Park. Spend an entire summer working and living in one of mother nature’s masterpieces!

1. You’ll have 3-6 months to experience your park

Nothing compares with watching Spring, Summer, and Fall dapple their colors, smells and sounds over a wilderness area – to spend more than a week in such a place, while having the privilege to live as a part of it. This is the opportunity to soak it in and truly discover a Park. To say it’s the kind of experience that you’ll never forget is an understatement.

2. It will Put You in Touch with your Inheritance 

With all of the division present in our current reality, it’s nice to be reminded that some early American visionaries stood up and fought for these incredible places of the country to be protected so that they still exist and can be visited these many years later.

The 640 million acres of public land that America has set aside for us is a reason for your heart to swell. It belongs to US. Me. You. Everyone.

Our great hope is that as a result of a CoolWorks job you might have a life-changing season in a great place. If it’s a National Park, the experience you have in that place and the knowledge that it is up to all of us to continue to preserve and protect these national treasures will hopefully stay with you forever, and become a permanent part of your worldview, your values, and your priorities.

3. You’ll Make New Friends to Last a Lifetime

Some people say that high school or college is where you meet the people that become the cornerstone companions of your life. Experiencing countless firsts with a new pal at your side brings with it a whole different level of connection: braving an unforeseen thunderstorm on a mountain peak; discovering that not only can you hike 20 miles through the backcountry full of wild things – but you actually really enjoy it. You’ll bond over holding the ship together as millions of vacationers flock to and rattle the floorboards of our parks. You and your trusty companions will be the ones there with grins on, waiting to give fantastic service and a great guest experience. All these experiences can be scary, thrilling, enlightening, hilarious, challenging, and FUN. Why would you be grinning when you’re in the weeds? Because you get to spend an entire summer having adventures in the wild that Tom Sawyer would envy, while living some sort of real-life version of the enviable resort staff from Dirty Dancing. Your life will be what daydreams are made of for many a guest. 

4. You’ll become a part of History

This land – all 58 National Parks – offer a great range of ecological diversity. From the “river of grass” which makes up the Everglades, to the mountains and valleys of Yellowstone, to the lava flows of Hawai’i Volcanoes, to the rocky coast of Acadia, and to the six million acres of wilderness in Denali; no two parks are the same. And with parks in 27 states (and the Virgin Islands and American Samoa), there’s an opportunity for everyone, no matter where you live, to experience all of the things that we’re celebrating this summer. Be a part of America’s Best Idea.

5. You’ll never be the same again 

It’s a bold claim – but it’s true. Stepping outside of the lines of what’s comfortable, traveling across the country to live in a dorm with a bunch of strangers, taking a job that you have no idea how to do, in a place that you’ve never been before: there’s no way that’s not at least a little bit terrifying to anyone who contemplates it. The good news is that it’s scary for everyone that contemplates it, and there are plenty others in your wagon train! Everyone is starting from the same place, is on the same page, and wants to meet new friends. In a matter of weeks, you’ll feel like you’ve known your new compadres longer than your old ones. You’ll also feel like a triumphant lion when you talk to your friend back home that’s working at the fry shack – describing your days off during which you “rode the bull” white water rafting, camped out under more stars than you thought could possibly exist, and conquered your first overnight in the backcountry with several of your new pals.

To sum it all up, new experiences, embracing a challenge, and forging new friendships make us feel alive in some of the best ways possible. Spending a summer working a seasonal job is an amazing and unforgettable experience. It’s also a pretty incredible vehicle for learning, growing, and discovering more new things about yourself than you ever thought you could. It’s also a great way to further develop your skillset. We all want to live a life that we can tell legendary stories about someday. One of the greatest things I discovered when I discovered CoolWorks – is that we all can. You don’t need a big savings account or tons of experience, you don’t need to be a certain age, or from a certain background. You just need an appetite to explore, a positive attitude, and a willingness to plunge into the unknown.