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Volunteers in Parks

Get Involved Today!


Volunteers play an important role in California‚Äôs State parks. From the first volunteers over 100 years ago who worked hard to preserve our most treasured places, to nearly 40,000 volunteers today who serve in almost all of California's state parks and lend invaluable assistance in one or more of the following program areas:

LH Interpretation for Visitors
Docents are highly trained volunteers who interpret the cultural, natural and recreational resources of state parks for visitors. 
Docents receive initial and continuing training to which they add their own unique approach and experiences.  Interpretive activities that docents become involved with include:
  • Educational Programs for School Groups
  • Tours, Nature Hikes, Train Rides
  • Living History Programs and Demonstrations

VC Greeter Public Contact
Visitor Center Volunteers answer questions and provide information to
visitors at park entrances or visitor centers.

Mtn Bike

Public Safety
Horseback, Mountain Bike, Foot, Boat, and All-Terrain Vehicle Patrols are conducted by volunteers who provide information and assistance.
Off-Highway Vehicle Patrols in State Vehicle Recreation Areas provide safety information, first aid and emergency assistance on a regular basis and during special off-road racing events.


Park Operations

Campground and Park Hosts are visible representatives in California State Parks' campgrounds and day-use areas. Volunteer duties include assisting visitors, collecting fees, performing light janitorial and maintenance duties, conducting interpretive programs and encouraging compliance with park rules and regulations (although hosts do not perform actual law enforcement duties). Hosts may also perform a multitude of other duties to help the park. Most parks require a minimum commitment of three months, with a maximum stay of six months per park. 
For more information about being a campground host, click here.

Park Equipment Maintenance is provided by volunteers with special training and expertise.

Park Administration includes duties such as clerical support, data tabulation, special events, and other administrative functions.

Planting Natural Resource Management is a critical issue facing state parks. 
Volunteers assist by providing needed skills and abilities in: 
  • Trail Construction and Maintenance
  • Native Plant Enhancement
  • Exotic Plant Removal
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Beach Cleanup

Volunteers assisting in the placing of straw bales for a historical structure. Cultural Resource Management
Volunteers assist in preserving and protecting the many artifacts within the State Parks collection.  From paintings to carriages, California's past comes alive through the efforts of talented volunteers who assist park staff in duties such as: 
  • Caring for Collections
  • Historical Research
  • Restoration of Historical Structures

And much, much more...!

How to Become a California State Parks Volunteer

As a volunteer, you must be willing and able to carry out your assigned duties and responsibilities. You must also be reliable and committed. Job duties are matched to the interests and abilities of the volunteer. A medical examination or criminal background check may be required. Persons under 18 years of age may volunteer with written permission from a parent or guardian.

Training and Working Conditions
If selected, you will receive training to acquaint you with the park and your specific duties. Hours for most volunteer positions are flexible and varied depending upon park needs and your availability. The amount of time volunteered is mutually agreed upon by you and your supervisor before you start and may be changed as circumstances dictate.

How to Apply
If you would like to receive a volunteer packet, please contact (916) 653-9069 or and leave your name and address. 

After identifying the district or park(s) in which you would like to work, please contact the volunteer coordinator to ask about current volunteer opportunities and the address to which you should mail your completed application. You may apply to more than one park. 

Describe on the application any relevant experience, education, talents, skills and interests you possess. Each park has its own needs and will be looking for volunteers with the ability to accomplish certain tasks. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the coordinator to locate a volunteer position that meets your needs as well as the parks.

You may volunteer as an individual or as part of a group, on short-term projects of 1 to 3 days, or on long-term projects in specialized programs.