Connect, protect, and inspire
Our state parks offer a variety of volunteer positons—everything from working with park grounds and leading education workshops to hosting a campground. No matter how you volunteer, you will play an important role in the mission of the state park system by helping preserve and protect our natural resources while providing for their use and enjoyment by visitors.
Contact a park to discuss volunteer opportunities there, or check out these current listings.
Volunteer Guidelines (PDF)
Following is a list of our state park system's most popular volunteer positions. Position descriptions vary from park to park since each park has developed its own volunteer program to fit its own specific needs. Not all volunteer positions are listed, and there are many other ways to volunteer. If you have a specific idea for a volunteer position, or to find out what volunteer positions are available, contact the park where you want to volunteer.
Campground Host: Serve as “live-in” host at park campground. Register campers, provide information and explain rules and regulations. Perform light maintenance work around the campground such as picking up litter, cleaning and stocking toilet facilities, and selling firewood. This position requires working weekends, holidays and evening hours. Your campsite provided free of charge while you volunteer.
Grounds Worker: Mow grass and trim weeds.
Trails Crew Leader: Providing leadership, technical assistance and supervision to organized volunteer groups improving trails in the park.
Trails Maintenance Worker: Assist in the maintenance of park trails. Trim overgrowth; remove fallen trees and debris from trail paths; construct and maintain trail erosion controls; and maintain trail treadways, steps and bridges.
Park Attendant: Perform custodial grounds maintenance duties. Provide information to visitors at parking areas and other public use areas.
Maintenance Assistant: Make minor repairs to buildings, picnic tables and other park facilities.
Clerk/Typist: Schedule tours and nature programs. Compose and type letters to persons seeking general information about the park. Answer the telephone and provide information to the public about park facilities, rules and regulations.
Historic Site Guide: Conduct special programs and lead guided tours of historic facilities within the park.
Receptionist: Provide information to visitors about park activities, facilities and resources. Operate base station radio. Register campers.
Astronomy Interpreter: Interpret astronomy for night programs at the park. Identify and give interesting information about planets and constellations.
Bird Specialist: Work with groups by leading interpretive hikes and sharing your expertise in birding and bird habitats.
Assistant Volunteer Manager: Discuss park needs with interested volunteers, coordinate time schedules with volunteers and park personnel, and keep records of volunteer work. Maintain contact with volunteer staff and promote the volunteer program.
Natural Resource Interpreter: Conduct specialized programs, nature hikes and evening programs interpreting the natural resource to park visitors. Answer visitor questions.
Citizen participation is more important than ever before in the history of the division. Without the help of concerned and dedicated volunteers, we cannot provide the standard of service 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. With the establishment of the volunteer program in the North Carolina state park system, we continue this tradition that is so much a part of our nation and state heritage.
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. In fact, more than a tenth of the acreage in the state park system has been obtained through the efforts of private citizens.
As the 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.
Statewide, our field staff consists of approximately 425 permanent personnel. More than 17.3 million people visit our parks and recreation areas every year. In operating these areas, our field staff is responsible for providing educational programs, law enforcement, visitor safety, resource management, search and rescue and fire fighting. Staff must also perform maintenance and administrative duties.
A goal of the Division of Parks and Recreation is to obtain sufficient staffing and funds to maintain park facilities and provide for a safe and enjoyable experience for our visitors. Help from volunteers is critically important in order for the division to fulfill its responsibilities to the public.
In April, 1980, Executive Order 48 established policies concerning the use of volunteers in state agencies. It authorized and encouraged state agencies to recruit, train and accept the services of qualified volunteers to assist in programs administered by state agencies for the benefit of the people of North Carolina.
The volunteer program for North Carolina state parks was formalized in 1988, and volunteer participation has increased each year. Today, every state park and state recreation area has identified specific needs that cannot be met by existing staff. Volunteer position descriptions have been written and job opportunities for volunteers are as varied as the many tasks performed by our permanent staff.
Many parks owe their very existence to the efforts and generosity of private citizens. Through the volunteer program in the North Carolina state park system, we continue this tradition that is so much a part of our national and state heritage. Our volunteers serve North Carolina State Parks in a number of functions including oyster shell bagging, constructing picnic tables, working special events, tree planting, removing invasive species and helping around the office, among others.
Do you have a special skill set that would benefit our parks? If so, contact your nearby state park and become a volunteer.