Podcast Episodes

Episode 148 features Kathryn Hampton talking about Workamping opportunities at Idaho state parks

Today, I’m going to speak with a representative of Idaho State Parks about the many Workamping opportunities still available for the 2022 season.

For 22 years, Katherine Hampton has been managing the volunteer program at 30 Idaho State Parks. That may be a small number compared those in other state parks in the Pacific Northwest, but Kathryn plans to bring on between 300 and 400 volunteers to serve as campground hosts as well as working in volunteer or seasonal jobs.

The most popular volunteer job is serving as a campground host where Workampers live within the campground loops helping to check people into their sites and answering questions people may have about the parks.

Other volunteers are used to perform maintenance around the parks while others are involved in interpretation or special programs to give nature talks or lead nature walks. Volunteers are also used to staff museums and visitors’ centers where they operate gift shops and may take reservations.

A season typically runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but some volunteers are needed early to help ready parks for summer use. They can also work into October to assist guests trying to squeeze out a few more days of fun before winter arrives.

The vast majority of the jobs are entirely volunteer although some people can be paid $11 an hour to work as seasonal employees. However, all Workampers get a full-hookup RV site and an annual pass allowing them free admission to other Idaho state parks.

On a weekly basis, most of the work is performed from Thursday to Sunday as well as on major holidays. On busy days, Workampers might put in 10 hours a day, but a typical week would require 20 to 30 hours a week. Volunteers are asked to work at least one month, when possible, but full-season work is also available.

If you like to help families enjoy their time off, this would be a great opportunity for you to great weary travelers, guide them to their campsites and explain any special programming planned for the week. Camp hosts are also involved in educating guests, in a friendly way, about quiet hours and leash rules. If there is a problem at a campsite, the hosts simply summon rangers to deal with the situation.

Maintenance jobs may involve mowing throughout the park, removing downed trees, repairing broken irrigation, fixing picnic tables and painting various structures. These are the most technical jobs in the system because maintenance workers may use chainsaws, mowers and weedwhackers.

People involved in interpretation programs have to do more homework than other volunteers because they actually become teachers. They may be telling stories about the Idaho Gold Rush, or describing some of the wildlife and plants common to a park. These volunteers lead people on a bike ride through the park pointing out items of interest, or simply organizing activities for children and adults.

People helping with reservations ensure that new arrivals can see when they are expected, find their campsites and follow up on a guest’s departure date.

Applying for jobs is relatively easy and involves submitting an application, which goes to Kathryn. She does an initial screening and determines availability and job preferences. She also determines if an RVer’s rig can fit into one of the available Workamper sites. Kathryn then forwards applications to the individual park staff where they schedule interviews over the phone or via Zoom.

After the interview, backgrounds checks are performed on all volunteer applicants.

There are hundreds of volunteers needed for 2022 and Kathryn would enjoy speaking with you about where you would best fit in to the Idaho State Parks system. You can call her at 208-514-2493, email kathryn.hampton@idpr.idaho.gov or visit www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.

It will be a great way to enjoy one of the most scenic regions of the Pacific Northwest.

That’s all we have for this week’s show. Next time, I will speak with a man who will talk about many Workamping jobs next summer at Montana’s Glacier National Park. You won’t want to miss this one. I’ll have details on the next episode of The Workamper Show. Until then, all of us a Workamper News wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a former journalist who covered the recreation vehicle industry since 2009. He started podcasting in 2014 and enjoys interviewing people about ways to live, work and play in their RVs.

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