Volunteer opportunities exist across Alaska with state and federal agencies in addition to what is offered by local communities. The number of volunteers needed and levels of responsibility performed by these volunteers in Alaska, are expected to increase dramatically over the next several years. This is due partially to reduced spending by state and federal governments in parks and recreational areas -- and also because of the successful work that is currently being performed by volunteers across the state.
The types of jobs performed ranges from trail crew to campground host to interpretive ranger. Some volunteers might find themselves working on a remote Aleutian island monitoring bird populations or in the interior of Alaska helping study the state fisheries. The key to having an enjoyable experience as a volunteer is to be honest with yourself about what you would be happy doing. If you are not a people person a position as a campground host might not be for you -- just as a remote research position might not be suitable if you have never camped in your life. The resources listed below should help to get you started. Remember to start early. Opportunities to volunteer exist across the state, from Anchorage to Denali National Park.
Alaska Department of Natural Resources - Alaska State Parks depends on volunteers to help manage and maintain the state parks. Volunteers provide services that would not otherwise be offered. In turn, volunteers receive valuable training and experience for their service. Summer and winter positions are available.
BLM Volunteer - The Bureau of Land Management is an agency within the Department of Interior. BLM manages 80 million acres of public lands in Alaska, ranging from rolling arctic tundra, to national wild and scenic rivers, to campgrounds and trails. BLM-Alaska is truly the last frontier. BLM Volunteers are involved in a multitude of individual and group projects to care for public lands.
National Park Service - The National parks in Alaska make extensive use of the volunteers that help during the summer and even winter seasons. Opportunities exist across a wide variety of activities. Projected reductions in NPS budgets will increase the need for volunteers in the coming years.
USDA Forest Service - Volunteers are an integral part of the Forest Service. Volunteers perform a wide variety of functions. Their talents and skills are matched with their work preference to obtain a role that satisfies them and best fulfills the mission of the Forest Service/USDA. They might work on a part-time or full-time basis. They can participate in a one-time project or serve over several months, seasons, or year-round. Training may be provided to you if your job requires it. If a volunteer is retired or have summers free, they may wish to live on a national forest while they work as a volunteer.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Generally, no special skills are required to be a volunteer. Any on-the-job training is provided if needed. Individual talents and skills are matched with volunteer interests and work opportunities. Work might include banding birds at a national wildlife refuge, raising fish at a national fish hatchery, conducting wildlife surveys, leading a tour, or restoring fragile habitat.
Books on Volunteering: There are several books on volunteering that are a good resource to learn more about what you will be getting into. We have listed just a few categories to get you started on your volunteer experience in Alaska
Camp Hosting - Books on campground hosting in state and federal parks. Learn what others have experienced and what advice they have to offer.
National Park Volunteer - Additional information on volunteering in National Parks across the USA. List of books and other resources.
Volunteer Vacations - Several books on volunteering opportunities during a vacation. Highlights what to do and expect from these experiences.