Remote Backcountry Visitor Use Intern

Expected Dates
May 27, 2019 to September 29, 2019
Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve
Position ID
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is seeking an intern who is both people-oriented and outdoor-experienced. The position requires somebody who is comfortable giving programs to groups of visitors as well as having strong outdoor experience and back country skills, and who will be comfortable spending an extended period of time in a remote setting in Alaska with no wifi or cell coverage.

The intern will work with Interpretive Rangers in the Visitor Center in a tiny and remote Alaskan “bush” village, providing general help with the running of the Visitor Center and giving our visitors assistance in the form of trip planning information and back country orientations. The intern will also be accompanying NPS staff on back country patrols into the wilderness for up to ten days at a time, going out in teams of two, occasionally making visitor contacts, and working on field projects with the rangers and resource divisions. While on back country patrols, intern will be paired up with experienced back country staff who will provide necessary guidance.

The selected intern will need to arrive at the park before the start of the summer season to participate in the spring training being held in late May. The training includes bear safety, boat safety, aviation safety, Leave No Trace camping ethics, and park interpretation for visitors. The end date can be a little flexible. It is estimated that approximately half of the intern’s work time will be spent in the Visitor Center and half will be spent in the field. This is subject to change according to the situational needs of the park.
Work time at the Visitor Center will be spent creating and giving Interpretive programs, back country orientations and bear safety training, and assisting visitors with trip planning. Interns will be responsible for recording visitation, providing assistance to local vendors and visiting staff, acting as sales clerk in gift shop and providing a high level of customer service to visitors. This position is half field-oriented and requires that the intern be experienced in back country travel and be familiar with non-motorized boating, backpacking, and map reading skills. Interns must be comfortable traveling in small single-engine aircraft, usually landing on floats on lakes and rivers, as this is the only way to access this remote wilderness. Interns must be extremely fit and strong enough to carry a 40-50 pound pack over uneven terrain for extended periods of time.
In addition to working in the Visitor Center and going out on back country patrols, related duties include:
Patrol equipment preparation, cleaning and storage.
Data entry and summarizing and/or assisting with writing patrol reports.
Assistance and support to field crews and staff going into the back country.
Other duties and projects as required by daily operations.
Required Skills include:
  • Ability to engage visitors, give NPS programs to park visitors, render assistance, and provide good information for their visit into the park.
  • Ability to multi-task while working in the Visitor Center: answering phones, assisting visitors, ringing up purchases in the small store, and providing assistance to other staff as needed.
  • Ability to follow verbal and written instructions.
  • Ability to learn and demonstrate proficient use of essential equipment, including camping gear and electronic devices like GPS, radios, and satellite phones.
  • Ability to manage risk and remain safety conscious while in a wilderness environment.
  • Ability to communicate and document field observations clearly.
  • Ability to camp and backpack for extended periods of time in a wilderness setting while practicing Leave No Trace principles.
  • Ability to work and live well with others in a small community in a remote environment.

Applicants must be in good physical condition and be able to walk long distances over uneven terrain while carrying a heavy pack. First Aid and/or CPR skills and the ability to navigate on water and over land by map and compass are a plus.
A background investigation is required for this position, as the Intern will be using government computers and have access to government buildings. A valid driver’s license is required.

Back country equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and canoes will be supplied by the NPS. Intern will be asked to use government equipment such as satellite telephones, VHF radios, GPS, binoculars/spotting scopes, and digital cameras.

Compensation amounts:

  • $1,900 - one time RT travel allowance
  • $200 - weekly living allowance
  • Housing

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

*Please note this position is NOT eligible for an AmeriCorps education award

  • Access: Bettles is only accessible by air with daily flights from Fairbanks. All modes of transportation may be temporarily shutdown due to extreme weather fluctuations. There are no grocery stores or restaurants, however the local lodge sells meals and souvenirs and one of the air taxis runs a small convenience store for several months in the summer. There is no clinic or doctor in Bettles. The closest medical care is in Fairbanks, an hour airplane ride from Bettles. Due to the lack of stores in Bettles, nearly all goods and supplies must be purchased online or shipped by freight from Fairbanks, including food. Population: Currently, the year-round population is 27. That number swells to 40-50 in the summer months. Weather: In summer there is nearly 24 hour daylight and usually warm temperatures. Rain is common and Mosquitoes are a constant. Contact the Bettles Ranger Station for more information about the community.
  • Spring training includes: Bear safety, water safety, aviation safety, gear maintenance and repair, Leave No Trace camping ethics, how to give back country orientations and programs to visitors, use of patrol database and photo database.
  • While in Bettles, recreation can be a bit challenging due to our remote location, and includes: biking, canoeing, potlucks, softball and volleyball games, and community events. While in the field, recreation activities abound (hiking, floating, camping)
  • Yes
Main Area of Focus
Visitor Services and Site Operations
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
Recreation Management
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
competent with supervision
competent with supervision
competent without supervision
Public Speaking
competent with supervision
Orienteering compass skills
competent with supervision