Position Title: Natural Resource Management Assistant
Park Unit: Denali National Park and Preserve
Location: Denali Park, Alaska
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 12 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 01/13/2025
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
Relocation Allowance: $1,050.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

Wildland fire is one of the most widespread and significant disturbances in Alaska’s boreal forests. Fire reinvigorates ecological processes, restarts successional sequences, and contributes to a complex mosaic of vegetation communities throughout Alaska. However, recent changes in climate have contributed to an increase in the frequency of large fire years and extreme fire events. Additionally, increased fire suppression around settlements has allowed the buildup of fuel loads (i.e., dense woody vegetation and ladder fuels) that likely require fuels mitigation actions such as mechanical thinning or prescribed fire. Thus, there is a need for scientifically-based information on the effects of wildland fire and fuels mitigation to evaluate fire management objectives and actions.

The National Park Service Fire Ecology Program has been collecting and analyzing data on affected environments, fire behavior, short- and long-term vegetation change related to fire management actions for several decades. Rigorous protocols and methods have been developed and tested, however, recent advances in technology have the potential to transform the way we monitor and quantify forest characteristics. The purpose of this internship is to contribute to several related efforts concerning the processing and management of fire ecology datasets. Specifically, the selected intern will develop, test, apply methodologies to: (1) Streamline the analysis of datasets for quick application to management actions; (2) Produce standardized data summaries and graphs for use in annual reporting; (3) Investigate the accuracy of high-resolution imagery analyses (i.e., Lidar, Structure from Motion) to identify canopy metrics; and/or (4) Explore the use of ArcGIS online, Survey123, and FieldMaps to collect and/or share field data. This internship offers a chance to co-develop an independent project based on a balance of the candidates demonstrated abilities, interests, and emergent Fire Ecology program needs. For instance, the selectee may analyze an existing dataset to answer a question of interest using techniques described above. Creating engaging interpretive materials to communicate recent research results will also be encouraged.

The purpose of this position is to contribute to fire management and planning efforts via streamlining and organization of data collection related to fuels treatment or fire ecological monitoring in several of Alaska’s National Parks. The SIP's work will increase our efficacy in understanding the role specific fuels treatments or wildfires play in altering vegetation structure, composition, and soils conditions and reducing fire behavior in our local boreal forest. This information will inform park management planning documents to better manage fire potential and visitor and resident safety.


Proposed deliverables include tested and documented methodologies to improve the flow of fire effects monitoring data from field plot measurement to management decision space. Dependent on SIP skills and interests, deliverables may include new datasets transformed from existing raw data resources, methodologies to streamline data analysis, or outreach products designed to engage and inspire community residents to accept fire as an important part of Denali’s boreal landscape. Once the participant has been selected, we will collaborate to agree upon an appropriate independent project before, or immediately after the start of the season. This written agreement will clearly define the scope and methodologies to be employed as well as final deliverables expected.


Applicants must have completed at least three years toward a degree in the biological, ecological, data or natural resource management sciences with a preference for those candidates with completed coursework in computer programming, data visualization, or geographic information systems (GIS). Additional coursework in fire ecology, forestry, plant physiology, technical writing and/or statistics will make the applicant most competitive. A working knowledge of R, experience planning and managing data projects and strong organizational and computational skills are required. The applicant should be able to work well independently, troubleshoot technological challenges, and effectively develop, document, and communicate results.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 12 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and offers unparalleled opportunities for solitude and exploration in a largely untouched landscape. Skiing, snowshoeing, and otherwise enjoying Denali's wild landscape in the least visited season –winter– is an opportunity of a lifetime. This position offers the chance to immerse oneself in the extremity of subarctic winter, experience the northern lights, view natural landscapes in transition, and live in one of the least populated areas of the country. Some food and community services are available in Healy (15 miles north of park) year-round. Larger city services are located in Fairbanks, 120 miles north of the park entrance. There are limited shopping opportunities after arrival, so it is very important to come prepared.

The work for this project is primarily computer based, in an office building shared with fire management and resource protection staff. Although direct supervision and support are provided by the Park’s Fire Ecologists, it is critical that applicants be self-motivated, innovative, and willing to ask for help promptly when assistance is needed. In some circumstances, an applicant may opt to work remotely for part of the internship but must be present in Denali for at least the first half of the internship.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is not required for this position.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Housing can be provided at no cost to the participant and is a short walk from the office. Housing consists of a comfortable 20’ x 20’ cabin shared with one other person. The kitchen, dining, and living space are shared and bedrooms are private. Kitchens are stocked with dishes and basic cookware. Bedding for a twin matress is needed. Cabins are “dry” meaning without running water, but water is available in the nearby communal bathroom/laundry/shower house.

fire ecology, data management, R coding, data visualization, applied science

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)