DNR boosts state park seasonal pay to $15 per hour

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is struggling to fill seasonal jobs at state parks

Photo of Angela Mulka
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Friday it has increased the starting hourly rate for seasonal park workers to $15, up from the old rate that ranged from $10.20 to $12 depending on the region of the state and an applicant’s experience.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Friday it has increased the starting hourly rate for seasonal park workers to $15, up from the old rate that ranged from $10.20 to $12 depending on the region of the state and an applicant’s experience.

David Kenyon/MI Dept. of Natural Resources

With roughly 400 workers needed at state parks and harbors as the busy summer gets underway, the starting hourly rate for seasonal park workers increases to $15. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced the rate increase in a press release on Friday, May 20, explaining the department was able to make it possible by reprioritizing some state park funding.

Rifle River Recreation Area. Photo by Tyler Leipprandt 

Rifle River Recreation Area. Photo by Tyler Leipprandt 

Tyler Leipprandt/MI Dept. of Natural Resources
Presque Isle State Harbor Aerial Photos courtesy of Tyler Leipprandt and Michigan Sky Media.

Presque Isle State Harbor Aerial Photos courtesy of Tyler Leipprandt and Michigan Sky Media.

Tyler Leipprandt/Tyler Leipprandt and Michigan Sk
Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory in Belle Isle State Park. Photo by Tyler Leipprandt 

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory in Belle Isle State Park. Photo by Tyler Leipprandt 

Tyler Leipprandt/MI Dept. of Natural Resources
North Higgins Lake State Park. Photo by Tyler Leipprandt

North Higgins Lake State Park. Photo by Tyler Leipprandt

Tyler Leipprandt/MI Dept. of Natural Resources
No matter which state park or harbor seasonal workers are located in, the "office" views can't be beaten.

"We decided we needed to raise our hourly rate in order to stay competitive with other job opportunities for teens, young adults and retirees," DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said in the release. "Our seasonal summer workers are key to helping us provide great recreation experiences for every visitor. We think this rate increase will help."

Apart from the rate increase, Olson wants to remind people that the DNR offers a "positive work atmosphere and opportunities to explore a career in parks and recreation and natural resources management."

Olson said seasonal park workers are the first line in shaping the customer experience. The frontline staff helps answer visitor questions, register campers, clean park buildings, mow grass, maintain trails and help visitors create lifelong memories.

Seasonal park workers also may qualify for academic or internship credit. Applicants should contact their academic advisor for eligibility requirements, according to the department. Many park rangers, wildlife biologists, fisheries technicians, conservation officers and more got their start through seasonal positions at state parks.

How to apply:

The first step in the process is to express your interest at the seasonal park workers webpage via the Michigan.gov/DNRJobs website or by texting "Hire" to 80888.

Complete the seasonal park worker interest form by providing your name, email, phone number and the work location(s) where you're interested in working. It should take less than five minutes.

The $15 hourly pay rate is effective Sunday, May 29, and is available to all new seasonal park worker hires, as well as those previously hired for this summer season.

The DNR is seeking about 400 people to complete the ranks of the 1,300 seasonal park workers needed every year to meet the needs of the highly anticipated summer travel season. The positions are flexible, up to 1,040 hours between April and October, and offer the opportunity to work through Oct. 15.

If spending the summer outdoors and gaining experience toward an academic degree or a rewarding, long-term career path sounds right for you, visit Michigan.gov/DNR/About/Careers/Park-Workers to express your interest and get the conversation started.

Learn about all of Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas at Michigan.gov/StateParks.