There are lots of organizations you can work for that will get you out into the wilderness. Primarily they are government jobs with the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Bureau of Land Management.
Beyond that there are state organizations, environmental groups, and private organizations that can hire you. Often getting a job – even seasonal government volunteer jobs – means following the official channels, lots of paperwork, and strict guidelines.
If you can get through the web of paperwork, you’ll really love what you are doing.
How do you know what agency you want to work for? It’s a hard question, but by breaking the agencies down, maybe you’ll be able to pick one.
National Park Service has been around since 1916 to preserve, protect, and manage natural, cultural, historical, and recreational areas. There are currently 366 areas that cover 80 million acres. There are national parks in every state and territory, except Delaware. The NPS oversees parks, battlefields, monuments, scenic areas, memorials, and trails. The focus is recreation and conservation.
US Fish and Wildlife Service has been around for about 2 decades. Its role is to manage 500 wildlife refuges spreading from Alaska to the Caribbean covering all ecosystems. It is in charge of 92 million acres. The protecting of wildlife habitats is the main focus.
US Forest Service was born into the Department of Agriculture in 1905 under Theodore Roosevelt. Over the last hundred years, the USFS has fine-tuned its focus to management and protection of over 191 million acres. It is headquartered in Washington, DC, but has smaller offices in all 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands.
Bureau of Land Management was formed in 1946 to manage and protect public land by preserving the natural resources for recreation and aesthetic purposes. They also protect commercial interests in the land. They manage 270 million acres that includes wildlife refuges, hiking trails, and scenic byways.
State Agencies do most of the same things that the federal government jobs do, but on a more local scale. It is a good place to get your foot in the door and gain experience doing the same things you would be doing for one of the larger organizations.
Private Organizations run businesses inside the parks, which can be for either private or commercial purposes. They may run rafting trips on federally owned rivers or run snowmobile tours.
Environmental Group jobs are highly competitive. Some of the biggest organizations are The Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Environmental Protection Agency, and Green Peace.