North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department/Turtle River State Park

Seasonal Park Ranger

May - September 2019 • Arvilla, ND

What I liked

I loved my coworkers! There were three other seasonal park rangers who worked with me, and we all got really close over the course of the summer. I also think that Turtle River itself is one of the best parks in the state, and I was super excited to live and work in a beautiful, naturally diverse landscape. The park features grasslands, forest, and river ecosystems and learning about the park or the animals that inhabit it was always a highlight of my days.

What I wish was different

I lived out at the park this summer, which definitely had good and bad to it. It was really cool that the park provided housing, but towards the end of the summer it did start to feel very lonely. It also did feel like I never really "left" work, because even in my free time I would still see things like full trash cans or disruptive park guests and feel as if I was still working. I also sometimes felt a disproportionate amount of weight on our positions - it was as if anything went wrong at the park, it was either solely the seasonal ranger's fault or it was solely their responsibility to fix it. Management didn't seem to take a lot of initiative or provide a lot of guidance (aside from criticism) most of the time.


HAVE VERIZON - part of the reason I felt so lonely was because I felt isolated every day not having cell service! More seriously, I wish I had known about how much of the job is focused on simple facilities service of the park. Someone's gotta clean the bathrooms, and more often than not that job falls to the seasonal rangers. I had expected quite a bit more focus on security and maintenance of the natural parts of the park, not so much with the visitor facilities aspect.
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