National Park Service "parks" Reviews | Glassdoor

National Park Service Employee Reviews about "parks"

Updated Oct 29, 2019

To filter reviews, or .
3.8
81%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
National Park Service Acting Director  Michael T. Reynolds (no image)
Michael T. Reynolds
49 Ratings
Pros
  • "You work in beautiful places and at some parks even live inside the park(in 31 reviews)

  • "Visitors are so grateful for the work you do(in 25 reviews)

Cons
  • "Salary is below private sector and to achieve success one must work at various parks(in 26 reviews)

  • "Low pay, no opportunities for advancement or performance based compensation(in 23 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "parks"

Return to all Reviews
  1. "Great career choice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Visitor Use Assistant Supervisor in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Varied work assignments keeps the job interesting

    Cons

    Salary is below private sector and to achieve success one must work at various parks. The constant work location changes are tough on family members.

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2019-04-25
  2. "Great Opportunity!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Historic Carpenter 

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time

    Pros

    Best job I ever had Everyones friendly

    Cons

    Large parks = Drama and rude people

    National Park Service2019-10-30
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Beautiful places to work, not diverse enough and hard to land a permanent job."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Park Ranger in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Enjoy beautiful park sites full of natural, cultural and historical richness. Spend some time outdoors, not just in an office. Share national parks with new audiences and connect with park visitors. Get to wear an iconic uniform complete with a badge and famous hat. Bragging rights to working at iconic landmarks.

    Cons

    Near impossible to get hired, let alone land a permanent job. Be ready to invest many years of entry-level internships, seasonal or temporary work competing with a nationwide demand for jobs. Management often overlooks frontline employees and treats them as bodies staffing sites to stay open. Also a lot of favoritism in the park to employees who are submissive; outspoken staff are often reprimanded. Preferred employees must sacrifice weekends, be single, and speak multiple languages. Pay is not enough to afford living near the parks and not all park sites offer housing to employees. Not enough ethnic and age diversity. Majority of employees agency-wide are white males over 40 years old. If you're a young person of color your culture and age is not always welcome, you're even seen as a threat. Although there is a Diversity and Inclusion Committee comprised of majority of white employees.

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2019-05-15
  4. Helpful (1)

    "Thought to get full time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Maintenance Worker in Gatlinburg, TN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You are entrusted with protecting some of the most important resources in the United States. The job can be very exciting and interesting.

    Cons

    Hiring process, seasonals treated very poorly, some parks have very serious management issues that do not get addressed.

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2019-04-08
  5. Helpful (1)

    "Solid People and a Great Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Visitor Use Assistant in Forks, WA
    Recommends

    I worked at National Park Service full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Supervisors were incredible and provided everything that we needed. We were well-trained and there was an awesome sense of community within the park.

    Cons

    Really none that I experienced. I know some wished that we had Wi-Fi like some of the other Parks, since cell service was limited, but we made our own fun.

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2018-11-26
  6. "Joshua Tree National Park Service"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Freelancer - Mascot Designer, Illustrator in Twentynine Palms, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at National Park Service for less than a year

    Pros

    Super friendly people, very accommodating! All in all, a wonderful environment to work in. I got to do field research, which included time spent hiking and drawing in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park. Flexible with time and needs, LGBTQ friendly, good parking.

    Cons

    Not the best pay (though due to our nations poor National Parks funding, I do not blame them) or benefits, small workspace in a busy/distracting environment (but again, I think they were doing their best with what they had). A bit unsure of what they wanted/had a hard time understanding what was needed of me.

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2018-02-08
  7. Helpful (2)

    "Jobs awesome, bureaucracy is annoying"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trail Worker in Zion National Park, UT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I mean, the obvious first pro is that you get to live and work in a national park. I worked with some really awesome folks and got to work on some really great projects. The trails supervisor at this park is not relatable for getting tasks completed which is frustrating when trying to get necessary paperwork day but the day to day of the work was really awesome out in the field with my crew. You live in a playground. I went climbing and hiking almost every weekend.

    Cons

    They just implemented a rule that makes it a lot harder for seasonals to work. It was passed down from above them, so not to blame possibly but it will make consistent work and returning to parks for repeat seasons much more difficult. In general, lots of red tape to get around. I held a position that dealt with the red tape less than most, and it still got to me.

    National Park Service2017-10-18
  8. Helpful (6)

    "Admin"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The NPS is based on the most noble of missions drawing the well-intended and altruistic. In my years of working for the NPS I felt most rewarded as a seasonal ranger, traveling from park to park, where I could spend time in the resource, connect with the public and not have to deal with bureaucratic nonsense. It was a great place to escape before the realities of adult life kicked in. I enjoyed some finer moments as a permanent employee, but they seemed fewer. I’ve spent the later part of my career in Washington DC at HQ and sometimes question the wisdom of sticking around as long as I have. I guess I believe in the mission as well as holding out hope for a better day.

    Cons

    Of the half dozen parks with which I was employed as an administrator, invariably there was a healthy percentage of co-workers namely rangers who would utter “I can’t wait to get out of here” with the delusion that it is magically greener on some other side. The casual observer may query: “You’re in paradise and miserable. What gives? People would kill for your job!” NPS life is tough on marriages and families. Pay is low for the front line park ranger comparatively. If you want to have a family you really feel the stress. Promotions are few, very competitive, arbitrary, often crony or agenda based, and can bring out the worst as fellow staffers “elbow” each other out of the way pressed by the reality of a career circling the drain. There is a veiled equation, or game that must be played in order to advance. Choose your loyalties carefully and hope the winds don’t shift. Work place conflicts can get nasty, tend to spin up fast and they linger. Many parks I’ve worked in create unnecessary positions due to managerial whims or hidden agendas that eat up the limited budget while vital positions go unfunded. Supervisory ranks are high in the unqualified, poorly trained and incompetent. There are a few top notch managers but of the many I have worked with, far too many were shameless opportunists painfully absent and already focused on their next advancement. The NPS is a small world, where everybody knows your business and reputations get broadcasted quickly and stick. It combines to create a toxic office culture concealed behind the idyllic back drop of log cabin entrance stations and happy seasonal rangers collecting fees and providing tours. The positive public opinion of the agency is carried on the backs of the young, naïve and idealistic “seasonal”. NPS WASO (headquarters) struggles with an “inside the Beltway” DC identity crisis. This is where things really fall apart. The NPS is an anachronism struggling to find its place within an evolving “outsourced” Federal Government, the fast pace of modern technology, hyper consumerism, cost of living, and promotion practices dominated by 30 years of identity politics and cronyism. Let’s face it, even the best federal agencies are behind the curve in technology, project/program management practices, and leadership development. The National Park Service isn’t even on the grid and prides itself therein. The NPS tends to do things “its own way”, and seems to want to isolate itself from the Department of the Interior let alone other federal agencies and most critically the private sector’s “best practices” (leadership, technology, etc.) That initial rugged individualistic spirit that attracts people to the agency becomes a critical liability in Washington DC. There is almost a rebellious defiance. Those who come from parks seek only to stay a few years and with great haste return to the parks with the irony that while in DC they often help foster the glaring disconnect between HQ and the parks. The greatest fear is “getting stuck” in DC. The basic goal is “return to park paradise but with a juicy inflated DC based salary transferring with and often for a crony created position waiting”. Those who play it right are rewarded with that choice job in paradise where they fully intend to stay for years, even decades unchallenged slowing promotion potentials for others. The other percentage of the WASO workforce has never worked in a park, and lacks an accurate frame of reference to the core of the NPS culture. It doesn’t help that annual budgets for the NPS have been lean for decades. Poor budgets compounded by a disjointed, marginally committed, self-isolating culture fosters rank amateurism with an “anything goes” lack of accountability that, as a business model simply cannot tackle the mounting grave strategic issues that the NPS continues to face. The elephant in the room of course continues to be the news worthy ethics violations including sexual harassment. Headquarter offices are filled with the overpaid, idle and the aimless “executive/special assistants” (code word for either ethics violators secretly riding out their careers in comfort or victims of the latest political senior executive “purge”). A final blow for the NPS Washington DC office is the volume of congressionally mandated offshoot programs that are dumped in the Park Service’s lap, along with some internally conceived programs that have very little to do with the original core mission. Year-by-year it gets worse, including political agenda driven and/or pork nominations for new sites that continue to suck what’s left of the oxygen out of the fiscal room.

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2017-08-28
  9. Helpful (3)

    "'Paid in sunsets'"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Park Ranger - Law Enforcement in Phoenix, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Park Service full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Beautiful places and some good people. Most of management doesn't know what their doing so perhaps there will be room for growth in the near future... yeah.... right.

    Cons

    Administration is terrible and politics are worst. Nps is an awful agency to work for, especially small parks. Be careful if you call out upper management on breaking policies, retaliation is real and never reprimanded..... 'mess up move up!'

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2017-08-02
  10. Helpful (1)

    "Park Guide"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Park Service part-time

    Pros

    Fantastic place to work- great working environment. Visitors are very friendly and rarely complain. You also get to work in some of the most beautiful places in America.

    Cons

    The hiring process needs to be looked at. You must take a survey and be approved by HR before a Park looks at your resume. Parks are told from an HR office who they can and can't hire

    Continue reading
    National Park Service2017-06-04
Found 26 reviews