Volunteering

If you are searching for available host assignments, please click on the Volunteer Openings page, and use our SEARCH mechanism.  You can search by keyword, type of volunteer opportunity, location or available dates.  If you don't find what you are looking for, please call us and leave a message on our Volunteer Hotline at 877-225-9803.  We'll be in touch!

Our park hosts are literally some of the most visible faces of our agency, helping visitors feel welcome, answering their questions and orienting them to the park and area. Common duties include selling ice and firewood, cleaning yurts or cabins, conducting tours, educating young campers through our Junior Ranger program, mowing lawns, repairing equipment and more.  In return, parks provide hosts with a free campsite, usually with full hookup, for those who host for a minimum of one month.

The hosting lifestyle

Many of our park hosts volunteer at their favorite parks over the summer, then go home. But for many, full-time hosting has become a lifestyle. Full-time RVers arrive at one park, then travel around Oregon, volunteering at other parks over a longer period. Whether this is for you or not, we value whatever commitment you can make.

 

Types of hosts

When you apply, you can choose the types of duties that most appeal to you. Overlapping duties are common and hosts may assist one another. You will have the most success if you are flexible.

Campground host:  Campground hosts sell wood and ice, clean sites and campfire pits, pick up litter, stock restrooms and offer general information about the park and surrounding area.

Visitor Services host:  A public information “job,” working in an entrance station, kiosk, visitor center, museum, store or similar.  Typical tasks are to distribute brochures, collect fees, sell retail items, provide hospitality, and generally be a welcoming face to our visitors.

Day-use host: Some parks don’t have campgrounds, but they need a day-use presence. Duties vary and are designed to carry out the purpose of the specific park property.  You will likely open and close gates and provide a security presence, but you may also assist staff with many other maintenance duties.

Maintenance host:  This type of host may mow and water lawns, trim trees and bushes, do painting, landscaping and gardening projects, or whatever is needed to keep our parks looking good.  Those with specialized skills may do “shop tasks,” such as repairing small engines, welding, or working on minor construction, electrical or plumbing jobs.

Interpretive host:  Folks who love to be right where it's happening in education and interpretation programming will enjoy these positions.  These front-line hosts lead or assist with evening campfire programs, Junior Ranger programs for children, conduct lighthouse or historic tours, or do research to develop new presentations, brochures or exhibits.

Yurt or Cabin host:  Hosts in this role provide friendly service to those with yurt or cabin reservations.  You would welcome campers, answer questions, make light repairs, clean the facilities in between bookings, and help “sell” unreserved yurts or cabins to walk-in customers.

Extended stay or special project host:  Occasionally, parks will need hosts with specific, professional skills to help them complete a longer-term project.  Projects vary.  Past and current projects include helping construct new cabins, installing playgrounds, designing new educational programs, conducting natural or cultural resource inventories, taking photographs or administering visitor surveys. 

Benefits of hosting

  • Campsite in a beautiful setting
  • Orientation and training to perform your job well
  • Volunteer uniform identifying you as part of the team
  • Volunteer injury coverage
  • A chance to learn new skills and challenge yourself
  • Day-use parking permit
  • Appreciation events and recognition items
  • An opportunity to become a vital part of our state parks family!

Submit an application

If you’re new to Oregon State Parks, please complete the application for New Park Host.   Please fully complete each section.  It’s the only way we can match your skills, interests
and abilities to the positions we have open.

The number and types of hosting opportunities vary from place to place and from season to season.  We always try to match your abilities, skills and interests with the parks’ needs, but the more flexible you are, the more likely it is that we can find a placement for you.  If you'd like a list of parks that use hosts, click here.

If you are a returning OPRD host, please complete your Renewal Application. Continuing park hosts are expected to submit a renewal application each year. 

Once we've received your application, you'll receive an e-mail from us.  Then, you can contact each park directly to request an interview or to learn more.

Background checks

  • An annual criminal history check is mandatory for all host positions.
  • If your assignment requires driving a
    state or personal vehicle, a DMV check
    is conducted.
  • We perform these on-line checks only
    as a second step of the volunteer screening process; therefore, you will
    not need to submit one until you have been interviewed and placed. At that time, a park staff member will request that you receive a copy to complete.

Quick tips (or how to land a job!)

  • Apply in the early fall for the best choice of locations for the following year.
  • Be open to assignments in different parks statewide.
  • Consider volunteering October through April, or in a central or eastern Oregon location.
  • Try a longer term winter assignment (November – February)
  • Remember that first impressions happen all the time, not just during an interview.  Make sure you have a positive, helpful attitude.

Establish a relationship (at least name recognition) with the Host Coordinators in the parks where you really would like to work. Let them get to know a little about you. Tell them why you are interested in volunteering, what work you would prefer to perform, and any special skills you can offer.

Be sure we know how to reach you with day and night phone numbers, e-mails, and message phones. Be sure you inform the Portland business office when you have a change of address or phone.