Citizen participation is more important than ever before in the history of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Without the help of concerned and dedicated volunteers, we cannot provide the standard of service that the public has a right to expect. Volunteers have carried on a proud tradition in parks all across our nation. Many parks owe their very existence to the efforts and generosity of private citizens.
As early as the 1930s, school teachers volunteered their time and expertise to give nature programs to youth groups camped at Singletary Lake State Park. And many private donations of land and money to purchase proposed land for state parks have been made. As the state parks system has grown, however, the need for additional facilities and staff to serve the needs of visitors has grown as well. We are confronted with the task of providing the highest standard of public service despite a budget that has failed to grow at the same pace as our needs.
With the establishment of the volunteer program in the North Carolina State Parks system, we continue this tradition that is so much a part of our nation and state heritage. Our volunteers serve North Carolina State Parks in a number of functions, including constructing picnic tables, working special events, tree planting, removing invasive species, helping around the office, building trails, and campground hosting.
Volunteers Through the Years
Whether it's a local group, college students, employees, scout troop, or just a collection of citizens willing to help, our state parks have benefitted greatly from hours of volunteer help. Click through the slideshow to see some helping hands in action over the years.
Volunteer Opportunity: Campground Hosting
Campground hosts "live in" the park and assist park staff in maintaining the campgrounds and in serving campers. They typically answer questions, provide directions to local amenities, and inform campers of the rules and hours of the campground. They may also help register campers when the visitor center or park office is closed for the day, or they may sell firewood. Hosts serve as the point of contact between campers and on-call rangers. They would report incidents, suspicious behavior, and other situations that may need to be addressed by staff.
Hosts serve as volunteers. A volunteer work schedule will be arranged with the park's host coordinating ranger. Those interested in serving as campground hosts should be willing to work flexible hours and be prepared to work on weekends and holidays. Hosts will stay on the host campsite free of charge. Campground hosts typically serve for 1 month.
The listed parks are currently seeking campground hosts for 2023 and beyond. Click the park name to send an email to park staff to inquire about campground hosting.
Map of State Parks with Hosts
Volunteer Opportunity: Events
Volunteer Opportunity: Friends Groups
Joining one of our friends groups is a great way to support the mission of conservation (as well as recreation and education) at your local state park and the entire state parks system. These groups provide support to state parks by organizing volunteer efforts, educating visitors, hosting events, and fundraising.
Friends of State Parks
The Friends group works with Division staff, local chapters, state legislators, and the general public about concerns, needs, and issues affecting state parks. They raise money to complement government funding for park improvements and education initiatives. They also coordinate volunteer efforts to support programs, events, and other park initiatives.
Specialty License Plate
If you have or get a specialty State Parks license plate from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, you can receive a complimentary 1-year membership. Fill out the form on the FSP website.
Find your local park's friends chapter. They are arranged alphabetically by the park's name.