Learn and Explore
Coming to Yosemite as a volunteer, for me, was something akin to attaining Everest. And, consequently, more than a little intimidating to anticipate. But the sincere welcome from the staff and community I received, and the respect and gratitude they conveyed for what skills and energy I may be able to contribute, quickly began to shape my Yosemite experience into what I think of as “the extraordinary opportunity of a lifetime”. Volunteering in this magnificent place absolutely ranks number one on my list of things to do when you retire—or sooner if you can possibly swing it. - Marva Sullivan
Yosemite has a large and vibrant volunteer program, welcoming people from all over the world into positions ranging from visitor information assistants in our visitor centers, to studying rare birds of prey, to picking up litter and building trails. In 2018 we topped over 13,000 volunteers who donated over 128,000 hours of service to the park. This is equivalent to $3.2 million in donated labor! Without volunteers, work that is critical to Yosemite could not be completed.
Volunteers at Yosemite National Park gain work experience and learn new skills, expand their knowledge about the natural environment and cultural history of the park, and preserve one of America’s greatest natural and cultural legacies for today’s visitors and future generations.
Volunteers at the park play a vital role in many aspects of park operations. They bring wonderful enthusiasm, energy, knowledge, and a diverse perspective to everything.
The Yosemite Volunteer Program is organized into three basic types of volunteering--individual, groups, and events or drop-in projects. The types of volunteer work vary for each of these, as does the way positions are posted and potential volunteers apply. International Volunteers (those who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) must follow some special application procedures. The National Park Service also works with several partners to facilitate volunteering in the park.
Yosemite's volunteer handbook [1 MB PDF] provides more details about working in Yosemite to prospective and current volunteers.
Dream Jobs in a Dream Park
Yosemite offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. There are projects that are designed for groups of volunteers to take part in and projects for individuals to take on. No matter the project or the number of people, Yosemite hosts a wide array of opportunities to fit anyone’s interest! Work with the park's wildlife populations—whether it is with bears, peregrine falcons, bullfrogs, or butterflies, there’s something for everyone!
Yosemite National Park is one of America’s iconic national parks with its majestic granite walls, high peaks, and diverse wildlife and plant species. It is home to important cultural sites, historical buildings, and natural habitats. With close to 5,000,000 visitors annually in the park, Yosemite volunteers play an important role in protecting these pristine places.
After reading through the volunteer webpages, if you still have questions, please contact the Yosemite Volunteer Program Office at 209/379-1850 or email the volunteer office.
Last updated: November 10, 2020