For some passionate and driven individuals, Yosemite National Park is more than a tourist destination, or a camping and hiking experience — it’s actually a workplace, or a place to call home.
You might be surprised to learn that career opportunities in Yosemite are readily available and ever-changing as the park’s needs and obstacles change. It’s a place for more than 400 year-round employees, with the total number of workers ranging all the way in to the thousands. They are all charged with keeping Yosemite in operation and well-maintained.
“When people think of a park ranger, they often think of someone who is extremely knowledgeable about nature—but there are many types of park rangers” says Ranger Dave Brumbaugh, who is a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in Yosemite. “There’s literally a park ranger for every type of job. So, whatever your background is, there is a park ranger position that meets that background.”
Brumbaugh, for example, is considered a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in Yosemite. On the average day, his schedule can vary quite a bit. The tasks include processing injury reports, developing safety plans, training other staff in emergency skills, and all the way to dealing with a snakebite or helping someone trapped on a cliffside.
He says his work has been a transformative and diverse experience.
“It will take you to beautiful, majestic, exciting places,” he says. “It is a phenomenal career — and very rewarding.”
Yosemite National Park is a staggering 759,620 acres (1,101 square miles), of which 95 percent is designated wilderness. There are 800 miles of wilderness trails to explore, as well as over 200 miles of paved roads and paths for those in bikes and cars to utilize.
The park attracts more than 4 million visitors annually, and it offers lodges, campgrounds, stores and sites to entertain as well as accommodate them. The park was even able to pull in over 2 million visitors in 2020, in spite of the extensive lockdowns and many restrictive processes put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to this incredible flow of people, as well as Yosemite’s immense size and diversity, the park requires an equally diverse and well-rounded roster of employees. The park is essentially its own functioning city and requires all the services and processes that are demanded of one. It needs security personnel, medical staff, maintenance crews, teachers, construction workers, hospitalities, and much more.
That means that the National Park Service is actively looking for people of every background, even though it is definitely a bonus that prospective employees have a background in the wilderness and/or the outdoors.
Marion Roubal served in the U.S. Navy before finding work in Yosemite Valley. She started out guiding tours and helping out in the museum. Today, Ranger Marion works in the telecommunications office and interacts with many others like her who have become park rangers
“There are two things that I have seen that we have in common,” she says. “We all have college degrees, and we all have volunteer experience … We all have that passion. Even, to a certain extent, we would be doing this even if we weren’t being paid for it — and they see that.”
Some longtime rangers are even lucky enough to work with some of the most famous and influential people in the world. Ranger Scott Gediman, who is the park’s acting Pubic Affairs Officer, has been able to meet and interact with two former presidents; the most recent being Barrack Obama in 2016, as well as Jimmy Carter through his association with UC Merced. Gediman’s primary responsibility is serving as the public spokesperson and representative of Yosemite, which regularly offers him incredible opportunities.
If you are interested in pursuing a position with the National Parks Service and have any questions, go online to: usajobs.gov or nps.gov and search for Yosemite Jobs.