Whether you’re a recent retiree with time on your hands or a traveler in search of an opportunity to give back, consider volunteering at one of America’s 401 national park units. You won’t be paid, but you’ll enjoy new acquaintances, wildlife in its natural habitat, sparkling night skies — and a sense of performing a meaningful service.
USA Today reported that the National Park Service (NPS) actively recruits volunteers to assist in necessary aspects of operating its parks, monuments, seashores, battlefields, and more. Volunteers have become increasingly important in light of tight budgets faced by our country’s national parks. Whether you are handy at fixing things, friendly and outgoing with strangers, or just enjoy the great outdoors, the National Park Service almost certainly has a place for you.
Volunteers are sufficiently important that the National Parks Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program was enacted in 1970 to facilitate volunteer assistance. Each year tens of thousands of individuals volunteer millions of hours of their time while working side-by-side with National Park Service employees. Volunteers staff campgrounds, maintain trails, provide information in the visitor centers, and offer natural history programs for visitors. Many volunteers live near a park and work only a few hours a week, sometimes for special events when extra help is needed.
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