Yosemite volunteers provide crucial services welcoming visitors and working hard to preserve Yosemite’s natural beauty. Volunteers experience the beauty of the park, camaraderie with like-minded people, enjoy inside information from the National Park Service (NPS), and the fulfillment of helping to maintain a World Heritage Site. Yosemite volunteers may work for a day, weekend, week or month in a variety of positions.
“Conservancy volunteers develop an even deeper connection to Yosemite while sharing their passion with other,” say organizers at Yosemite Conservancy. “From guiding visitors to meaningful encounters with the park to contributing to its sustainability for generations to come, Yosemite Conservancy volunteers may partake in a variety of opportunities.”
Due to their popularity, volunteer programs are restricted to Yosemite Conservancy donors who make a minimum donation of $25 during the year in which they apply to volunteer. By donating, in addition to being able to apply to this program, volunteers support the Conservancy’s work throughout the park and receive great benefits.
“People-persons” may want to explore the idea of becoming park entrance greeters. Each year, visitors enjoy free entrance into national parks on special designated holidays, such as Veterans Day. On these days in Yosemite, volunteers join NPS staff in greeting visitors at the park’s entrance gates. Volunteers welcome visitors to the park, let them know entrance is free and encourage them to donate to the Conservancy’s projects and programs. If you’re looking for a rewarding encounter with people who are excited about visiting the park and happy to donate to the work, this would be a good position for you.
In 2015, volunteers collected more than $108,000 while greeting people at the park entrances at Arch Rock (Hwy. 140), Big Oak Flat (Hwy. 120 West), Wawona (Hwy. 41) and Tioga Road (Hwy. 120 East).
Other volunteers help visitors get the best experience in Yosemite by sharing their park knowledge. Visitor information assistants spend a month helping visitors enjoy Yosemite’s natural, cultural and educational activities in various locales throughout the park.
Most work schedules are 32 hours per week with time off to explore the park. All participants receive online and on-site training. They enjoy free entrance into the park, camping at group or shared campsites in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, Hodgdon or Wawona, a 30 percent discount on books and educational materials at Yosemite Conservancy bookstores, and discounts from the park concessionaire in various locations.
Outdoor Adventures Assistants and Youth Art Teacher
Have a special talent to share? Youth outdoor teacher and outdoor adventures assistant volunteers are needed to spend a month in the park sharing knowledge and helping visitors explore the park’s wonders. Experienced volunteers may wish to help visitors explore Yosemite through the popular Outdoor Adventures and art programs. Volunteers provide crucial support to the visitor programs, working hand in hand with staff. Program assistants live in the park for a month and work a 32-hour week with time off to explore the park. They receive online and on-site training by Yosemite Conservancy and the NPS. They enjoy free entrance into the park and camping in group campsites. They also receive a 30 percent discount on books and educational materials sold at Yosemite Conservancy bookstores, as well as discounts from the park concessionaire in various park locations.
Interested in something a little different? In a work week crew project, participants can expect to get their hands dirty, as a dedicated community of Yosemite enthusiasts work together to preserve and protect the park. Elite work-project teams are led by NPS rangers for volunteers who wants to spend time improving habitats throughout the park. Projects have varying fitness levels, often requiring physically demanding work. Crews of up to 15 volunteers share a group campsite and are provided with three hearty meals a day, as well as a commemorative T-shirt. Participants generally work six to eight hours, four days per week, with a day off mid-week. There is a $200 fee to help cover the cost of the program.
Corporate Work Projects
For businesses and organizations, Yosemite Conservancy’s corporate work projects provide an inspirational backdrop for employees to work together on projects crucial to Yosemite’s future. Many of these projects include unique opportunities for donor recognition while informing park visitors about the work being done. This enriching volunteer experience expands corporate visibility and sustainability awareness, contributes to team building, and instills company pride in making a substantial difference in the park.
Corporations that contribute at least $25,000 annually to Yosemite Conservancy can select a group of 25 employees to participate in a work weekend in the park. The group travels to Yosemite together and works shoulder-to-shoulder with NPS personnel on one of the Conservancy funded restoration or rehabilitation projects.
These and other volunteer opportunities are available to view online.