National Parks Business Plan Internship

Group of interns standing on an overlook of the Grand Canyon
2019 Business Plan Internship orientation at Grand Canyon National Park

The National Parks Business Plan Internship (BPI) program is a highly selective, rigorous summer internship for top graduate students studying business, public policy, environmental management, and related fields. Over the course of eleven weeks, pairs of interns work as management consultant teams in various parks and program offices across the country, where they lead strategic projects that impact the long-term health of these vital American resources by addressing some of the agency’s most pressing challenges.

This competitive 11-week internship program runs June through August and begins with an intense week-long orientation to NPS operations and policy. Past training sites include Grand Canyon National Park, Acadia National Park, Olympic National Park, and Shenandoah National Park. Team and project matching occurs prior to training; teams get a chance to work with their project manager and park/project liaison (the team's client) at training before traveling to their project site.

Summer consultants benefit from one-on-one mentoring with seasoned project managers, and many BPI alumni credit their BPI experience with playing a vital role in their current career path. Recent BPI teams have worked at parks and programs throughout the country, including Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana), Yosemite National Park (California), Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (Alaska), Buffalo National River (Arkansas), Fire Island National Seashore (New York), Northeast Museum Services Center (Massachusetts), and the Social Science Program (Colorado), among many others.


  • US citizenship or permanent residency
  • Enrollment in a full-time graduate program during the internship, with an anticipated graduation date after the internship end date
  • At least two years of professional work experience
  • Excellent time management/project management and analytical skills
  • Superb oral and written communication skills, including presentation skills
  • Flexible work style and ability to work in a team
  • Understanding of and commitment to the mission of the National Park Service

Benefits and Compensation

Summer consultants receive a competitive weekly stipend. Housing for the duration of the 11-week internship is also included. The program reimburses interns for transportation to the BPI orientation training at the start of the program, to the assigned project site, and from the project site to the consultant's school at the end of the summer.

Upon graduation from their graduate program, consultants who successfully complete the BPI program are eligible for non-competitive hiring into the NPS as National Park Service Conservation Fellows.

Two BPI interns in a meadow with bears, a lake, and a mountain behind them
BPI consultants observe the flora and fauna (from a safe distance) at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

NPS Photo

Ways You May Help Your Park

The position is multifaceted; as a consultant, you may have the opportunity to:

  • Analyze current resource allocations in the context of near- and long-term park priorities.
  • Perform specialty analyses on high impact opportunities to improve park and program operations. Examples include determining the most efficient fleet structure, developing a cost-benefit analysis of expanding a program, conducting a life-cycle costing exercise for different types of equipment, optimizing revenue from fee operations and evaluating the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of various partnerships.
  • Develop management and financial strategies to accomplish park goals. Examples include identifying innovative commercial service offerings, developing strategies to increase the client's budgetary or in-kind resources (e.g., increase donations, expand volunteer recruitment, secure grant or project funding), reducing operating costs, and creating marketing strategies for a park or specific program (e.g., a park's educational programs).
  • Project future staffing and financial requirements to support park priorities.
  • Work with management and front-line staff to evaluate park programs and operations.
  • Facilitate discussions to determine strategic park or program priorities.

To learn more about the National Parks Business Plan Internship and to apply for the upcoming summer, please visit our partner site.

BPI Class of 2012
BPI class of 2012 at training, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
BPI program group listening to a speaker while seated outside a building
BPI class of 2018 at training, Acadia National Park

NPS Photo

Last updated: October 2, 2023