Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette announced Friday, February 19, 2021, that The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for hundreds of jobs throughout state parks, forests and natural and historic sites. Beyond providing an entertaining and engaging summer work experience in New Jersey’s parks, these seasonal jobs can introduce New Jerseyans from all backgrounds to long-term career paths in environmental protection.
Available positions include naturalists, history educators, visitor service assistants, trail stewards, office assistants, lifeguards and maintenance personnel.
“From leading nature tours to patrolling with our State Park Police, spending the spring and summer at work in New Jersey’s state parks can be a great entrée to an environmental career,” said Acting Commissioner LaTourette. “Our seasonal parks team is the backbone of the recreational programming that New Jersey residents and visitors rely on now more than ever, and our goal is to recruit a seasonal team that reflects the rich diversity of our state.”
Peak season is Memorial Day through Labor Day, although some parks fill part-time positions year-round depending on operational need. The State Park Service and State Park Police will work with applicants, such as students and teachers, whose availability may be limited to weekends during certain periods of the year.
The type and number of positions vary by location, depending on the types of recreational and educational activities each site offers. Applicants must be 16 years of age or older to apply. Salary rates start at $12 per hour.
Seasonal staff are required to work weekends and holidays because park facilities are open seven days a week. Most jobs are outdoors.
Lifeguard positions are anticipated at a number of swimming areas across the state. Lifeguard salaries begin at $13 per hour in most areas. Oceanfront guards at Island Beach State Park start at $14 per hour. While candidates must pass running and swim tests prior to employment, prior experience is not necessary. The State Park Service will train lifeguards in cardiopulmonary resuscitation/Automated External Defibrillators, first aid and other medical matters. Each lifeguard will also receive a U.S. Lifesaving Association certification. The DEP anticipates state park swimming areas to open Saturday, May 29.
Trail Steward positions are available at the Forest Resource Education Center, Double Trouble State Park, Liberty State Park, Ringwood State Park, Wawayanda State Park and Worthington State Forest. Eligible applicants must be 18 years of age or older and able to hike long distances daily. Applicants should be personable, assertive and professional as they work with crowds and advise visitors about the Leave No Trace concept and park regulations. Other jobs may include brushing and blazing trails, installing signs and fences, and general maintenance of trails. Salaries range from $12-$16 per hour.
Visitor service and office assistants help to register campers, collect entrance fees, answer phone calls, provide recordkeeping and conduct other customer service duties as required. Salaries start at $12 per hour.
Naturalists and history educators work with park naturalists and historians at interpretive centers and historic sites to educate visitors. Typical activities include leading or assisting with interpretive programs, teaching visiting camp groups, demonstrating a craft and preparing materials. These positions may also be assigned specific projects by their supervisor. The starting salary for these positions is $12 per hour.
State Park Police visitor service assistants patrol assigned areas, direct both pedestrians and vehicular traffic and report unlawful acts to appropriate State Park Police personnel. Other duties may be required as under State Park Police supervision. Applicants must be 18 years of age and able to work weekends and holidays. The number of positions vary park to park based on the type of recreation at each location. Salaries start at $12 per hour but can be increased based on experience. This position is ideal for those looking to pursue a career in law enforcement or criminal justice.
Maintenance personnel are the lynchpin of the State Park Service’s summer operations. Applicants can expect to assist full-time staff in a variety of tasks including lawnmowing, cleaning of facilities, trash removal, park improvement projects and other general maintenance functions. Trade-school students, or those who may have a unique skill such as carpentry, are encouraged to apply for these positions. Salaries begin at $12 per hour based on experience.
DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry oversees more than 50 state parks, forests, recreation areas, battlefields, historic sites and marinas that annually draw millions of visitors and are a key contributor to the state’s tourism economy. The State Park Police protect the natural and historic resources of New Jersey’s state parks, forests and historic sites, and the safety, security and well-being of all visitors.
The State Park Service takes COVID-19 precautions especially seriously. Protocols are followed and all employees are provided with the essential personal protective equipment needed while at work.
Robin Madden, Acting Director of the Division of Parks and Forestry said, “Our seasonal employees are key to the State Park Service’s ability to offer high-quality recreational and educational opportunities to millions of visitors every year and assuring them of safe and enjoyable experiences, whether they are hiking, swimming, biking, picnicking, bird-watching, learning, or touring at any of our more than 100 unique sites.”
To learn more about which locations are accepting applications or to apply for a specific position, visit www.nj.gov/dep/workinparks. Applicants for all positions are encouraged to check with the park office of their choice by Friday, March 12 about specific positions, scheduling and other job-related inquiries. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible.
To learn more about New Jersey’s parks, forests and historic sites, visit www.njparksandforests.org.