Private & Non-Profit National Park Summer Employers

If you want to work in the outdoors, but are a bit hesitant about working for the state of federal government, you may want to look into working for non-government organizations. Most non-government organizations offer similar benefits as the government, but most offer even better benefits, increased pay, and more flexibility with deadlines and rules.

The most common non-government jobs are with park concessionaires, private contractors, and environmental organizations. The applications for these jobs almost always come with a lot less paperwork. Think resume, letter of reference, a smiling face, and a simple application.

Park concessionaire jobs are service-oriented companies that are located in national parks across the country. They run businesses located in parks like gift shops, hotels, restaurants, and tours. This means you may be doing seasonal retail work or waiting tables during the day, but right outside your door is a backcountry heaven.

Park concessionaires know that you’ll be working there with the intent of getting out and playing in the woods, so they won’t work you too hard. Think boat tours in California’s Channel Islands or t-shirt sales in Wyoming’s Yellowstone.

Private employers also get you out of the cubicle and into the field. They are companies that work outdoors. You may work in restaurants or lodges, but you might also get a job working on mountain bikes, leading raft trips, organizing social events, maintaining grounds, or tending horses. These private employers are usually dude ranches or private lodges that back on or are close to national parks, forests, or wilderness areas.

Environmental organizations really get you outdoors into the environment you want to enjoy. They are usually private and non-profit. You also get to do many of the same jobs you’d find if you worked for the government – trail repair, wildlife studies, conservationist, biologist, and many more. Usually these jobs are tougher to get and often require higher education in the field you will be working in. The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are a few of the groups to begin your search.

Non-government jobs are a great way to spend some time exploring the outdoors. The work and pay depends a lot on what organization or company you work for. It’s a good way to pursue a career or to work for a season. Anytime you can be where your backyard is endless acres of pristine wilderness playground is a good place to spend your time.


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