Blog

Proposed National Park Fee Increase, a Good Thing?

Over the years, I have written a lot on this blog about national park visitation, the threats facing our parks today, and the diminishing budget for our parks. What I am going to talk about today deals with all of these things, but from what I have seen so far, it seems to be a sensitive topic. The opinion I hold on this topic is not necessarily a popular one, but after working in parks and researching them for many many years it is an opinion I think is informed, and one that I am sticking to.

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Forestry Job Spotlight: Wildland Firefighter

This month we are jumping right back into our spotlight series! As previously covered in an earlier blog, searching the USAjobs website can get confusing. There are hundreds of jobs out there and their job titles might not sound anything like what the position actually entails.  Even though you now know how to search for jobs according to their series and grade, you might be thrown off by the jobs that your search comes up with. I am going to be spotlighting specific starter positions within our public lands that you might not necessarily think to apply to. However, these are jobs that you should be applying to, as they offer an excellent foot into the door in the forestry field. This month’s spotlight is on probably the most common forestry position out there –The Wildland Firefighter. What is unique about this position is that you can do it full time, but depending on demand, many people doing other jobs in the forestry field can get voluntarily “drafted” to go on rolls during fire season. So pay attention, because even if you think this doesn’t apply to you, in the future there is a god possibility you will at least be spending some time on a fire. Special thanks to David Hon from Wyoming State Helitack for helping us out with this month’s spotlight!

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FAQ’s

Four days ago, I moved to Yellowstone, and with that move came my first real access to internet (not just on my phone and not limited to 10 minutes) that I have had in about a year. After filing through personal stuff I needed to catch up on, I realized I had literally hundreds of unread messages on my Facebook and Instagram from people who read this blog. I had not realized just how many people actually read this, and was surprised by the sheer volume. I am going to try to get back to everyone, but just know it will likely take me awhile. However, what I will do is use this blog to address the frequently asked questions that kept popping up in these messages to me.

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Zion National Park Sets Precedent with Visitor Use Management

On this blog I frequently discuss the issues facing our public lands today. Many of these issues stem from overcrowding and our parks being “loved to death.” As many parks experience more and more visitation, with increasing impacts on the natural resources they are supposed to protect, the question is often raised, “What can we do?” Zion National Park is finally taking charge to do something about this and recently announced the preliminary concepts of their Visitor Use Management Plan (VUMP). This plan is a game changer in many ways, and sets a precedent that we can expect to see other parks following in the upcoming years.

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Public Lands Current Events Update June 2017

In the past month our Public Lands have once again been in the news frequently, so I am going to take today to touch on some of the more recent and relevant headlines.

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Forestry Job Spotlight: Interp Ranger

This month we are jumping right back into our spotlight series! As previously covered in an earlier blog, searching the USAjobs website can get confusing. There are hundreds of jobs out there and their job titles might not sound anything like what the position actually entails.  Even though you now know how to search for jobs according to their series and grade, you might be thrown off by the jobs that your search comes up with. I am going to be spotlighting specific starter positions within our public lands that you might not necessarily think to apply to. However, these are jobs that you should be applying to, as they offer an excellent foot into the door in the forestry field. This month’s spotlight is on the ever-famous Interpretive Park Ranger job. These are the people you see giving ranger programs and in the visitor centers. You will see these positions listed as Interp, Park Ranger Interp or Park Ranger (I) on USAjobs. It is similar to the education ranger, but there are some differences (NEVER confuse the two, you are likely to deeply offend the ranger). Special thanks to Rangers Ben and Darcy from Zion National Park for helping us out with this month’s spotlight!

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The Fight Against America’s Public Lands

Canyons

It seems as with each passing day that public lands are becoming more and more present on the frontlines of the American social consciousness. For years these lands have gotten so much bipartisan support that we forgot that there are still those out there who aren’t particularly fond of them. In recent years, and even weeks, it has become more and more evident that these special places aren’t beloved by everyone, and that if we want to keep them around the way they are now, we need to be aware of that.

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Forestry Job Spotlight: Trails

CanyonsAfter a few months off, this month we are jumping right back into our spotlight series! As previously covered in an earlier blog, searching the USAjobs website can get confusing. There are hundreds of jobs out there and their job titles might not sound anything like what the position actually entails.  Even though you now know how to search for jobs according to their series and grade, you might be thrown off by the jobs that your search comes up with. I am going to be spotlighting specific starter positions within our public lands that you might not necessarily think to apply to. However, these are jobs that you should be applying to, as they offer an excellent foot into the door in the forestry field. This month’s spotlight is on what we like to call “Trails”. You will see it listed as a Laborer on USAjobs. Special thanks to Evan Gerry from Rocky Mountain National Park for helping us out with this month’s spotlight!

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How Social Media is Helping Our National Parks

About three weeks ago I moved to Zion National Park. As I was sitting in my office researching the park, so I would be able to answer any visitor questions, I saw something astounding. The visitation in Zion has increased from 2 million to 4.3 million in less than five years. I asked my supervisor why he thought the visitation had increased so much and he answered “social media.” I found this very interesting, about a year ago I wrote a blog entitled “How Social Media is Destroying our National Parks”, on this site and while I still stand by the arguments I made in the blog, today I thought that I would offer a different, alternative viewpoint on how social media is helping save our national parks. This issue is not, and has never been black and white.

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How does the Federal Government Hiring Freeze Affect Your Future?

DSC00504What made you initially want to work in the forestry field? For me, I have wanted to work in this field as long as I can remember. Its more of a passion than a job. I remember when I was very little reading the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible. I remember asking about the Garden of Eden, and my father explaining that Garden of Eden was like the most beautiful national park in the world. I was familiar with the national parks, and so in my young, impressionable mind, I decided that Adam and Eve were park rangers and that I too needed to be a park ranger.