About the VIP Program

Volunteers provide valuable assistance with numerous operational goals and projects at the monument. As an example, Visitor Center Host duties include researching, preparing, and presenting thematic cave tours, conducting patio talks and guided nature hikes, and often assisting with special events. Hosts also work at the visitor center and answer questions, assemble information packets, and engage visitors with the stories behind the scenery. Volunteer cavers help with exploration trips by taking survey measurements inside the cave, collecting water samples for testing, and training staff, interns, and volunteers on the Wild Caving Tour route. Each year, there are several volunteer positions available. The question becomes, what kind of volunteer activity are you looking for?

For more information regarding the Volunteers-In-Parks Program at Jewel Cave National Monument, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (605) 673-8330.

A caver is kneeling in a passageway, writing data into a small book.
Volunteer cave explorers perform a variety of tasks while inside the cave. Their efforts help the monument learn more about the underground resources.

NPS Photo

Volunteer Caving Opportunities

Volunteers often enter undeveloped portions of Jewel Cave to assist the monument with a variety of projects, including water sampling, impact monitoring, surveying and mapping, and gathering data for scientific studies. Experienced cavers who are interested in helping with exploration trips and cave management activities should contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (605) 673-8330.

NOTE: Due to the arduous nature of caving activities, all trips are led by qualified trip leaders, who have met the prerequisites outlined in the Cave and Karst Management Plan and have completed the required training offered by the monument.

Scout Ranger Program / Service Projects

The monument welcomes Scouting troops from across the country to participate in the Scout Ranger Program. The current program provides Boy Scouts with unique opportunities to take an active role within the National Park Service. Ranging from an engaging service project to taking part in a ranger-guided cave tour, participating scouts learn about resource management and cave stewardship. An activity booklet complements the overall experience. Upon completion of the program requirements, participating Boy Scouts earn a patch and certificate.

Most Scout Ranger Programs are scheduled during the off-season for the upcoming summer months. Service projects are only available from mid-June through late August. Some years may have more projects than others. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (605) 673-8330.

NOTE: For additional information related to the Girl Scout Ranger Program and other national Scout activities, please visit Youth Programs within the National Park Service.


How to Apply

Jewel Cave National Monument is served by numerous volunteers throughout the year. We are very fortunate to have local enthusiasts join our team each summer, combined with new volunteers from across the country. YOU can also help the monument in a variety of ways, and the process starts with an online application.

What is available?

To learn about available positions and apply for the different opportunities, please visit Volunteer.gov for further information.

Last updated: March 16, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


605 673-8300
The main phone line connects visitors with staff at the visitor center. Throughout the year, the phone line is monitored by staff on a daily basis, excluding holidays and days with limited visitor services. Please be advised that after-hours messages are not taken on the system; visitors are encouraged to call the visitor center during normal operations and speak with a park ranger for assistance.

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