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Michigan DNR dealing with a seasonal worker shortage

Posted at 3:54 PM, May 25, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Memorial Day is right around the corner, and that means more people will be heading out to our state parks.

There are more than 100 state parks in Michigan, 20 of which are in west Michigan.

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The parks average about 28 million people each year.

But the DNR says its dealing with a shortage of seasonal workers and is asking people to do their part to keep our parks clean.

“It's a challenge. But it's something that's not just this year, it's something that we've had to deal with in the past too,” said Ron Olson, Michigan DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief.

The Michigan DNR is working to fill a total of 1,300 seasonal positions at state parks across the state.

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“We didn't get started too late because of the dynamics of the spring and, and the pause of hiring and all but that got reinstated. But it didn't get reinstated until May, so took a little while to get caught up for last year,” explained Olson.

The DNR is looking to hire ahead of a busy season and needs park rangers and seasonal park workers.

Workers will help visitors with questions, register campers, clean park buildings and help maintain trails.

“We're making good progress, and we're hoping to have things staffed up. But, you know, we also have, you know, a core staff of employees, and we are working on getting caught up from the COVID situation that set us back on hiring,” said Olson.

So far this year parks are seeing a 25% increase in visitors.

There’s also been a 40% increase in the number of people going camping compared with last year.

The shortage of seasonal workers means the DNR is asking you to do your part when visiting state parks, trails and campgrounds this Memorial Day.

“Leave no trace, meaning that you go out and if you use an area and leave it better, equal or better than when you found it, meaning that you police up your area, you whatever you had, refuse or items to please up your area, leave it tidy for the next person, that helps immensely,” explained Olson.

If you’re interested in applying to be a seasonal worker, starting pay is $10 an hour.

Second-year workers make $11 an hour, and if you have three years in you can make closer to $12.

You can apply online at the Michigan DNR website.