Living & Working in Great Places
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I'm looking at retiring in about 18 months and seriously thinking about seasonal work in Yellowstone park. I will be 59 years old when I retire. Does anyone have any experience working in Yellowstone they could share?
I don't work in Yellowstone, but I am near the park haha. I work at a Ranch in Montana near the West entrance to Yellowstone. A few reasons you should say yes:
1. It is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!
2. The people you meet, whether you work with them or they are guests, are truly amazing. Yes, just like any customer service job you will meet a few bad eggs, but generally they are all very nice.
3. You will meet people from all over the world.
4. It's typically a seasonal gig, so if it's not your cup of tea, once the season is done you can go somewhere else.
5. The adventures you will get to go on are priceless (plus we usually get discounts of some sort).
Honestly, if your heart is calling you to do it, I say jump. I did and I have been loving it!! Hope this helped a little bit.
Thank you Lauren
This sounds very positive and it sounds like a fun place to check out.
I was in your same position in 2009. I had just left a 34 year career with an Energy Company in Houston and was looking for a complete change. Working in a National Park (and especially Yellowstone) sounded perfect to me. A few points to consider ....
1) Working for a concession company you will generally be provided room & board (i.e. no cooking and a shared dorm room), but your hourly pay will be minimal. You do not do this work for the money because most retired folks basically break even or spend a little of their own money depending how (and how often) you entertain yourself.
2) Bring a car and explore during your time off .... Yellowstone is a huge place and there are dozens of things to do and see. Do NOT sit in your dorm room.
3) Make sure you understand what "split shifts" are because more than likely you will be required to work one. It is basically a morning and afternoon shift totalling 8 paid working hours separated by up to 4 hours on non-paid idle time. The concession company has you tied up for 12 hours and pays you for 8.....neat deal for them.
4) After working one summer for a concession company (2009) I realized working as a Park Ranger for the NPS is a better deal. The pay is better, the housing is better and the management is better. On the down side you have to buy food and cook for yourself (i.e. bring utensils, small appliances and so forth). You usually have to share quarters with one or more as well and pay rent based on area "norms".
5) Checkout the summer musicals in West Yellowstone, and the Plains Indian Museum in Cody. Also take the drive up to the Bears Tooth northeast of the park and see snowboarding in August :)
Good information Aggie thank you.
My goal for looking into a seasonal position other than staying in my small hometown where I grew up, is for the adventure not the money. My thought is for the work I do to fund most if not all of this adventure. I like to fly fish and the thought of fly fishing in Wyoming on my days off sound quite intriguing. I will have my retirement to pay for my home in NY.
Aggie - That was good information you gave. Just curious, how does one become a Park Ranger? Is there specialized training, etc.?
No special training .... but you do need a college degree and prior military service buys you "veterans preference" which could be critical for jobs that many are applying for. Just go to usajobs.gov and fill out a profile. Then apply to which ever job postings look interesting. Be patient, it could take months or even years before you get your first chance. From there it gets easier to get re-hired. Good luck!
Aggie- Thank you so much. I do have a bachelors degree, but am not a veteran. Looks like I would need a lot of luck then. Nothing ventured-nothing gained though. Appreciate the information, Mike
I'll be back to Yellowstone this summer. It'll be my 7th summer. I even spent one winter.. Nope, won't do that again. I'll be 65 this spring, so I'm no young'n either. It's one of my favorite places in the world. This will probably be my last time working there. I'm getting a bit old to hold the pace in the kitchen. I'm thinking about buying an rv and working for recreational managent co. they give ya a campsite, utilities and a small salary to take care of their campgrounds. Oregon in the summer and Arizona in the winter. Sounds perfect to me!