The BLM Volunteer Program
The BLM is responsible for the maintenance, use, development and protection of lands primarily in Alaska, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Washington. Like most other agencies and bureaus that comprise the U.S. land management system, the bureau is known for its wide range of interesting volunteer positions.
Most BLM volunteer positions are seasonal ones available during the summer months. There are, however, scattered opportunities for those who prefer to work during the off-season when there are few visitors and other employees on site. Volunteers often work alongside employees, carry out similar duties and have similar responsibilities.
The most common volunteer positions with the BLM are in the areas of service and recreation. As a BLM volunteer, you may work with visitors in varied positions, including manning information booths, providing tours and assisting at first aid stations. Depending on the needs of the particular facility or park at which you work, you may be assigned to trail maintenance duties, tree planting or a variety of other grounds keeping and maintenance positions.
Volunteering with the BLM gives you the opportunity to learn about the different land environments that make up the U.S. public lands. You may work in national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, federal government facilities or on some military bases.
Did You Know? The BLM has over 67,000 full time employees, but it has had over 280,000 volunteers who have worked in approximately 2,400 different locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
Seasonal BLM Volunteer Opportunities
There are always hundreds of volunteer positions available around the country for those who want to get experience working with the BLM, whether the intent is to build experience for a career or just to be part of the team for a while. Volunteer opportunities vary from year to year because the needs of the BLM programs and facilities change from season to season, however some of the most popular areas and opportunities include:
- Alaska: Anchorage field office, Marion Creek campground, Glennallen field office and Coldfoot Interagency Visitor Center
- Arizona: Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program. There are also campground host positions available statewide
- California: Barstow field office, Needles field office and Carrizo Plain National Monument
- Colorado: Field offices in Montrose, Gunnison, Kremmling and Grand Junction
- Nevada: Field offices in Las Vegas, Elko, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca and the Tonapah field station
- Oregon/ Washington: Salem District recreation sites often need campground hosts and trail maintenance personnel. In addition, the BLM often needs volunteers to help with fish and wildlife surveys
- Utah: Cleveland-Lloyd dinosaur quarry, Vernal field office and Red Cliffs campground
- Eastern Region: Historical conservation, Wild horse and burro program
The volunteer needs for the BLM vary considerably and may be updated throughout the season, so be sure to check with the BLM website or at the website of the facility at which you want to volunteer.
Did You Know? In an average year, 63.4 million Americans donate their time to volunteer projects. The value of their services is estimated at over $169 billion annually.
More About Volunteering with the BLM
Every year, the BLM relies on thousands of volunteers to help fulfill its mission. While the BLM benefits from volunteer services, volunteers also enjoy experiences that stay with them for a lifetime. As a volunteer with the Bureau of Land Management, you'll gain invaluable experience in positions that aren't easily available in the private sector. You'll come to a greater understanding and appreciation of our nation's cultural heritage and the full breadth of our natural resources and treasures. You'll join a long line of volunteers whose work has ensured that these lands are here for you and others to enjoy today.
Volunteers with the BLM survey lands, build campgrounds, maintain trails, plant trees, perform research, expand energy development and document resources at archaeological sites - and that's just a start. Since the volunteer program began, it has been responsible for significant achievements in habitat improvements, science advances and land conservation. The work of volunteers, including data collection and recording, helps scientists and conservationists conserve the land and use our natural resources wisely.
In addition to the standard volunteer programs, the BLM also runs the Student Career Experience Program. SCEP is aimed at students who are considering a long-term career with the bureau. It accepts students who are enrolled in school maintain a good academic standing. It allows these students to gain professional experience during their summer vacations. That experience can help start them on a rewarding career path with the bureau.
- Volunteers are essential to the Bureau. Some years, there are more seasonal volunteers than there are full-time and part-time employees.
- The BLM offers opportunities all over the western states from the sunny southern tip of California to the icy tips of Alaska, as well as in some coastal areas and forests in the east.
- The SCEP program is great for students considering a long term career with the BLM.
- The benefits of volunteering with the BLM range from the freedom to explore wilderness areas to making significant contributions to scientific discoveries.