Logo for the National Park Service's Volunteers-in-Parks program.
The logo for the National Park Service's Volunteers-in-Parks program.


Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs) are essential members of the National Park Service (NPS) family, as they help Buffalo National River staff achieve the NPS mission and park operational goals. By demonstrating shared stewardship for America's public lands, volunteers set the example for future generations and ensure safety, access, and enjoyment for today's park visitors.

The VIP program was created to provide a way for the NPS to accept and utilize voluntary help in a way that is mutually beneficial to the NPS and to volunteers. VIPs work alongside NPS staff and partners to help preserve and protect our natural and cultural resources. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the VIP program, and we have a lot to celebrate! Last year there were over 279,000 volunteers who donated 6.5 million service hours across the National Park System.

If you would like to volunteer at Buffalo National River, please contact the VIP Coordinator: e-mail us. Tell us about your volunteer goals and interests, and we'll match you with a meaningful opportunity to lend a hand at Buffalo National River. All volunteers should report their work hours and accomplishments to either the VIP Coordinator or supervisor. More information provided below:

A large group of river cleanup volunteers holds a Buffalo National River banner by the canoe launch at Ponca.
Buffalo National River Partners Earth Day 2019 river cleanup volunteers.

NPS Photo

Episodic (One-Time) Volunteer Opportunities

Organized volunteer opportunities like river cleanups and trail maintenance days are normally associated with Earth Day (April), National River Cleanup Day (May), National Trails Day (June), and National Public Lands Day (September).

The Buffalo National River Partners host a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year including river cleanups, invasive plant removal, trail maintenance, elk education, and more. Check out their website for upcoming opportunities.
A group of volunteers and rangers pose together while holding elk antlers.
A group of volunteers and rangers pose together while holding elk antlers and brochures.

NPS/T. Fondriest

Long-Term Volunteer Opportunities

Long-term volunteer opportunities are often geared toward visitor services and education. These types of volunteer positions, such as Campground Hosts and Visitor Services Assistants, are advertised on Volunteer.gov and require formal application and selection based on favorable qualifications and background checks. Current vacancies for these positions are listed below.

Other long-term opportunities are geared toward routine maintenance and upkeep of park resources and facilities. These positions do not require formal selection or background investigation. Individuals may join the Adopt Your Adventure Program by selecting a cemetery, trail, campground, or river section to maintain on a long-term basis. This program offers people of all skill levels and abilities to serve their park. From easily-accessible boat launches to technical backcountry terrain, adopted areas should be checked and maintained at least 3 times per year. Litter pickup, trimming vegetation, and documenting major damage or obstacles to park staff are the primary responsibilities of trail and river adopters. Find out more by contacting the VIP Coordinator: e-mail us

Current Volunteer Opportunities

color photo of patch featuring scouts hiking and canoeing
Patch awarded to scouts who complete a 50 mile hike/float and a service project.

NPS Photo

Buffalo National River 50-Miler Patch

This patch is awarded to all Scouting and Venture group members that complete a 50-mile float/hike and an approved 10-hour service project within 10 consecutive days.

Requests should be sent to the VIP Coordinator: e-mail us

The initial request should include tentative dates, put-in and take-out locations, total number of participants to include child/adult ratio, group representative with phone number and email address, any logistical needs of the group that might be facilitated by the park, and if you would prefer the awards to be presented in person or mailed after the completion of the trip.

The trip report should be submitted within 10 days of the completion of the trip and safe return to the group's home station.

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Jacque Alexander from the Backcountry Horsemen of America explains why she volunteers at Buffalo National River.

Last updated: March 24, 2021

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Mailing Address:

402 N. Walnut Street
Suite 136

Harrison, AR 72601


(870) 439-2502

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