Park Interpreter

Expected Dates
November 1, 2020 to May 1, 2021
Capitol Reef National Park
Position ID
CARE SCA Winter Park Interpreter: EOD approximately November 1, 2020 and COB May 1, 2021,  (26 week internship)
The project entails providing interpretive services to park visitors at Capitol Reef National Park. 
The primary work involves staffing the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center (elevation 5,500’), which is open daily. Candidate will be required to work nights, holidays and weekends. Specific lieu days will be assigned.  Annual park visitation is approximately 1.25 million; the small visitor center receives ~1,000 to over 2,000 daily visitors during the main season (March through October). Work requires providing information, orientation and interpretation in-person, by phone, email, and standard mail. Work will be accomplished with exact time deadlines and requires accountability and attention to details.
Work involves researching, developing and presenting interpretive talks on topics including: the 280 million year geologic history of the Waterpocket Fold, high desert ecosystems, climate change in the southwest, dark sky resources, Fremont Culture and archeology, Mormon Pioneer History and National Park administrative history.  Other developmental interpretive opportunities may include creating and presenting interpretive hikes, star gazing, and full moon programs. Program outlines are available for reference and use. Taped programs are also available. Staff is required to create written program outlines and coach coworkers’ programs.

The position requires hiking a variety of frontcountry and backcountry trails and routes over rough terrain in all weather conditions. Familiarity with trails is essential for providing accurate visitor information and safety messages, and for issuing backcountry permits. The visitor center staff also serves as the park dispatch, handling radio communications simultaneously with interpretive operations. Ability to multi-task in a hectic workplace is critical. 

Capitol Reef has a small staff and many other tasks are required including: processing lost and found items, following safety protocols and standard operating procedures, assisting law enforcement or other divisions as needed, and performing maintenance tasks. Cleaning with chemicals, heavy lifting and moving, and manual labor tasks are required. This position requires excellent teamwork ability, communication skills, customer service skills, flexibility, positive attitude, and ability to follow direction and the chain of command.  

Collateral duties may include: assisting with updating the park website, photography, assisting with writing projects, audio-video troubleshooting and repair, creation of video and/or podcasts, creating and revising manuals and standard operating procedures, assisting with administrative and social media tasks, assisting with the park phenology, wildlife camera studies, or other resource-related projects, as well as other general tasks.
Requirements:   The intern must have some experience with public speaking, familiarity with the cultural and natural resources of the Colorado Plateau or Four-Corners Region, and some experience in working with the public. 
This work requires strong customer service skills, the capacity to learn information quickly, strong communication skills, the ability to evaluate an existing product, and teamwork. People who enjoy working with the public (particularly with youth), who have motivated and creative personalities, and who can work independently to meet deadlines will be excellent candidates for these positions. Foreign language skills highly recommended: French and German.

Proficiency with Word, PowerPoint and other common computer software is required.

Interns will be supervised by a senior interpretive staff member. 
Public Purpose:  
  1. To engage youth interested in careers in the interpretation of cultural and natural resources in a national park environment. 


  1. To provide park visitors with formal and informal interpretation/education on natural and cultural resources of Capitol Reef National Park, including resource protection, as well as orientation to enable safe and rewarding park experiences for the public.   


  1. To provide the intern with real-world experiences in educating the public with specific goals of resource protection and stewardship, in providing quality customer service to a variety of audiences, conducting research, providing public programming, and exposure to a variety of careers in the National Park Service. 

Substantial Involvement:  Capitol Reef is involved with the candidate in describing the goals, and jointly developing the scope and the activities to be accomplished.  Capitol Reef provides Division of Interpretation staff to mentor and train the intern employed through this program. Capitol Reef staff assigns a work schedule, provides orientation to park resources and facilities, supervises work assignments and presentations, teaches new skills and provides technical assistance and safety/emergency situation training.  Capitol Reef provides extensive training in and orientation to the park, its resources and staff, and methods of interpretation; then coaches the intern in providing cultural/environmental interpretation.  Capitol Reef provides the programmatic structure of the project, and provides educational elements such as development of public speaking skills and leadership skills.
Benefit to Student:  Students will benefit from experience and mentorship provided by Capitol Reef’s interpretive staff.  They will gain first-hand experience in producing a variety of programs including research, design development, and program evaluation. They will learn appropriate methods for assessing visitors’ needs and providing superior customer service.  They will gain experience public speaking.   The experiences and knowledge they gain through this position will benefit them in securing future employment opportunities in the fields of customer service and the interpretive arts.
Project Purpose:  The purpose of the project is to provide information, orientation and interpretation to park visitors. The project involves learning about the park resources to educate visitors through the interpretation, and learning and practicing National Park Service interpretive methods for the effective delivery of stewardship messages. The intern will be expected to provide approximately 50 programs through the course of the internship; programs will encourage visitors’ participation in learning, exploring, and protecting parks throughout their lifetimes. The purpose of engaging student interns is to provide them with real-world experiences in public programming, resource conservation, and visitor center operations. It is hoped that this will facilitate their understanding of such work and help them gain experiences which will assist them in attaining their career goals.    

Compensation amounts:

  • $1,100 - one time RT travel allowance
  • $200 - weekly living allowance
  • $40 - additional uniform stipend
  • AmeriCorps eligible ($3,907 education award)
  • Housing

*All allowances subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes

  • Capitol Reef National Park is located in rural south-central Utah at 5,500 ft elevation, in the heart of redrock
  • On the job training primarily, including online interpretation courses, review of existing programs, road trip park
    orientation. Developmental opportunities such as: natural or cultural resource projects, special events, or
    search and rescue assistance.
  • Recreation includes hiking, camping, biking, nature studies, fruit picking, canyoneering.
    Educational opportunities include attending ranger programs. There are 4 UT National Parks, Salt Lake City, UT, Grand Junction, CO within a 4-hour drive,
  • Yes
Main Area of Focus
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
degree minor or extensive experience
Earth Sciences
degree minor or extensive experience
Recreation Management
degree minor or extensive experience
some coursework or experience
Customer Service
competent without supervision
Social Media
some experience
Public Speaking
competent without supervision
some experience
Working with Children
competent with supervision