Volunteer with Us
Volunteers at State Parks : Apply online today for a state park volunteer position.
Protecting, managing, and interpreting South Dakota's natural lands and wildlife are no small tasks. Each year, hundreds of people donate their time and talents to do just that as they volunteer within our state park system. Volunteering in South Dakota State Parks is a great way to visit and experience a new place, learn new skills, interact with the public, and to simply enjoy life outdoors. You can find more information about our state parks at Find a State Park.
On-site volunteers are provided with a campsite during their service in exchange for 24 hours of service per person per week. Most volunteer sites are full hook-up (water, sewer, and electric). Volunteers provide their own housing and personal items. Service is purely volunteer. These are unpaid positions. Most work takes place on the weekends, but schedules are fairly flexible. Commuter volunteers travel from home and work as needed.
- Campground Host: Greet and assists visitors to ensure they feel welcome in the parks by providing information and answering questions. Keep an eye on campground activities and provide information to park staff on potential problems. Other tasks may include selling firewood, checking out rental equipment, light landscape maintenance, and cleaning cabins, comfort station, and vault toilets.
- Campground Attendant: Interacts with visitors, check in campers, and provide information to park staff on potential problems. Other duties may include light landscape maintenance and facility monitoring and/or cleaning.
- Cabin Cleaner: Cleans camper cabins after a guest has departed and prepares the cabin for new arrival. Tasks include sweeping and mopping floors, dusting, cleaning, and sanitizing surfaces, emptying trash cans, washing windows, cleaning air conditioner, and documenting cleaning and reporting items in need of correction to supervisor.
- Garden Maintenance: Keeps the garden areas and potted flowers in the park in top shape for visitors.
- General Volunteer: Assist in all areas of visitor services and park maintenance. May perform light maintenance work around the campground such as litter pickup, sweeping and stocking of restrooms.
- Group Volunteers: Assist with a variety of projects as an organization or park scheduled volunteer event. Examples include painting, park clean-up, tree planting/removal, landscaping, building construction/maintenance, trail work, and much more. To request a group volunteer activity, contact your local park. Groups with volunteers under 18 are expected to have adult supervision.
- Landscape: Plant and weed flower beds. Trim trees, shrubs, and pull weeds by the convenience store, modern cabins, and suites. Possibly dig out existing plants, putting down landscape fabric, and placing some type of landscape material where the plants were.
- Maintenance: Work with park staff to help keep the park in top shape for visitors. Duties may include assisting with painting and staining park facilities, mowing, planting, and watering trees, cleaning facilities such as vault toilets, comfort stations, and fish cleaning stations, and other maintenance tasks and projects as agreed upon with park management.
- Office: Interacts with visitors, answer phone, take messages and assist with general office duties.
- Programs and Events: Assist park staff at campground evening programs, tours, or other interpretive activities.
- Sanitation: Cleans vault toilets and empties trash cans located throughout the park.
- Special Projects: Contributes to special projects and suggests new ones.
- Trail Maintenance: Keeps the trails in top shape for visitors.
- Visitor Center: Greets and shares information with visitors.
Fill out your application as completely as possible. More information will help us place you in the right position. Applications are accepted year-round for current positions. Positions for the following summer season will be listed in October.
- Most positions run mid-May to mid-September.
- Some positions can start as early as April and run through October.
- As little as one month of service is considered. Preference is given to volunteers who can serve several months or have previous volunteer experience.
- Individuals and couples are considered for each of the positions.
- All applicants offered a position must pass a criminal background check. We cover all associated costs.
- Custer State Park also has needs for winter/spring volunteers. Please indicate your availability on your application.
To learn more about volunteering in South Dakota State Parks, contact the volunteer coordinator at 605.773.3391.
Volunteers at the Outdoor Campuses
The Outdoor Campuses in Sioux Falls and Rapid City are the gateways to a lifetime of outdoor adventures. Through the careful guidance of staff, you will find yourself drawn into activities you had never considered: hunting and fishing, cross-country skiing, shooting a bow and arrow, cooking wild game in a Dutch oven, gardening for butterflies and more. Adult volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and commit to 50 hours a year.