Position Title: Interpretive Assistant
Park Unit: Rocky Mountain National Park
Location: Grand Lake, Colorado
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 20 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 11/17/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
Relocation Allowance: $400.00

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.)

This is a winter internship in the Colorado River District at Rocky Mountain National Park, during which the intern will present programs to the public and school groups, work in a visitor center, assist with snow surveys, gather weather statistics and water samples, and participate in avalanche training.

Main Duties: The intern will present snowshoe walks and cross-country ski programs to the public. Programs focus on animal adaptations, winter mountain safety and survival, snow science, changing climates, hydrology, and winter weather. While conducting programs, intern will teach visitors and school groups how to snowshoe and cross-country ski. Intern will provide park orientation, trip planning, and trail information to visitors while working in a visitor center. They will rove park trails via snowshoes or Nordic skis, to provide information and safety messages to the public, and to monitor trails. After roving, intern will inform visitors and staff of snow and trail conditions and advise law enforcement of snow conditions and potential resource threats. Intern will assist with curriculum-based education programs for local school groups, which includes teaching kids about the park's natural resources.

Other Duties: The intern will assist the Resource Management Division by collecting water samples and reporting weather. Intern will gather and record weather statistics, which includes daily high and low temperatures, 24-hour snow depth, recent snow fall, and liquid precipitation. This weather data is used by the park and sent to the National Weather Service/NOAA. The intern will assist the Visitor Protection Division by participating in avalanche safety training and assisting with backcountry snow surveys. During monthly snow surveys, intern will record the amount of snow on the ground, take a core sample, weigh the sample, and use calculations to determine snow water equivalent and snow density. These measurements help determine snowpack and amount of snow melt in the spring. There will be opportunities for professional development, to complete writing assignments, to provide website and social media content, and to complete other projects.

Training Provided: The park will provide orientation, training, and a fulfilling work environment. Intern will be immersed in the field to be familiar with the area resources. They will expand knowledge of park resources through a variety of sources (reading, websites, and on-the-job training).

The Colorado River District of Rocky Mountain NP is home to four unique ecosystems and the headwaters of the Colorado River. This area is transformed into a winter wonderland when it snows, and the intern will be able to explore the area while helping visitors discover this beautiful place during the winter.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Strategic Work Plan lists resource stewardship and education as priorities, with a goal to integrate science and management to preserve and protect resources. This position will deal directly with the hydrology within the Kawuneeche Valley. Hydrology within the valley has been dramatically changed by people in the past 100 years including wildfire effects, declining snowpack, impacts to wildlife and winter recreation, and water use (most snowpack is diverted to the east side of the mountains). These issues affect wildlife due to willow degradation, loss of beavers, and overpopulation of grazing ungulates. The valley looks much different compared to the past. The park has identified this as a major resource management topic and has directed funding towards creating Natural Resources positions on the west side (first time ever!); and has created a 20-year plan working with local organizations to create a collaborative to restore the Kawuneeche Valley. This internship is a part of that plan, as the intern will communicate and educate visitors, to increase public understanding of park resources and significance, potential threats and issues, and restoration efforts. The overall goal is to create stewards who will help the NPS in our mission of protecting and managing resources. Additionally, while working with multiple divisions, the intern will learn an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to natural resource management. By aiding in snow surveys and collecting weather statistics, the intern will contribute data that focus on winter natural resource management and hydrology.


The intern will develop and conduct public snowshoe and cross-country ski programs during the winter, to educate the public about winter natural resources. The intern will assist with school group programs by leading groups of kids on snowshoes and conducting kid-friendly activities. The park typically does not hire winter seasonal employees, so hiring an intern will allow us to provide more educational programs. The intern will learn how to conduct programs, how to snowshoe and cross-country ski, how to collect and record data, how to work within other divisions, and how to educate the public about resource management. Also, while the intern is roving trails, they will provide additional monitoring, protection, and reporting to Law Enforcement. The intern will develop a larger project of their choosing. Past winter interns have completed projects like creating website or NPS App content, social media posts, and junior ranger activities. The written parts of the project will focus on resource topics like wildlife management, hydrology, human history, or climate/snow science. The intern may have the opportunity to learn how to operate a snowmobile used during snow surveys. They will be able to attend avalanche training and other professional development.


  • Have a positive attitude and have the emotional intelligence to work through difficult work situations.
  • Ability to work well with and be kind to coworkers, peers, supervisors, visitors, and other divisions.
  • Ability to function effectively as a member of a team, but also able to work independently.
  • Ability to take directions, feedback, and guidance.
  • Good communication skills and customer service skills.
  • Ability to perform public speaking and/or learn how to present programs to public groups and school groups.
  • Interest in working with visitors of all ages, especially children and families in an outdoor environment.
  • Ability to stand or sit for moderate amounts of time and hike up to one mile.
  • Ability to work in cold outdoor temperatures and snowy conditions.
  • Preferred Skills (not required): Some experience using snowshoes and/or cross-country skis. Familiarity with living, working, and driving in snowy conditions.

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 20 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

This position is located at high elevation (8700-9000 feet) on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park near Grand Lake, CO, within the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. This position will work in a shared office, visitor center, and in an outdoor winter environment. When working outdoors, intern will usually work along a trail or route. Main hazards include moose interactions, winter weather, sun reflecting off the snow, and adverse driving conditions. Several feet of snow accumulates in the area. Rocky Mountain NP and surrounding areas offer opportunities for outdoor recreational winter activities including hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, wildlife viewing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. Average winter temperatures are between 5-30 degrees F, with heavy snow accumulation. The park road is open for 10 miles past the visitor center, with hiking routes to explore in winter. Wildlife includes moose, coyotes, fox, mountain lions, squirrels, river otters, beavers, pine martens, and birds. The visitor center and housing area are located within a lodgepole pine forest. The East Troublesome Fire occurred near Grand Lake in 2020 and there is burned landscape within the park. The work requires walking, hiking, and/or snowshoeing, as well as bending, lifting, and standing for long periods of time. Intern may learn how to drive a snowmobile.

This position is duty stationed approximately two miles north of Grand Lake, CO. Near the park are other communities of Granby, Fraser, and Winter Park. Grand Lake has a post office, restaurants, churches, medical clinic, recreation center, and small grocery store. Larger supermarkets are in Granby (25 min.) and Fraser (40 min.). There is a movie theater and bowling alley in Winter Park (45 min.). Trail Ridge Road, the main road through the park, is closed during the winter, and it takes approximately 3.5 hours to reach Estes Park, CO (park HQ). Denver, a 2.5 hour drive away, and Silverthorne/Dillon/Frisco, a 1.5 hour drive away, has restaurants, thrift stores, cultural events, museums, and large retail stores.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is REQUIRED for this position.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Shared housing is provided. Intern will live in a two-bedroom apartment with a private bedroom and bathroom but may share kitchen and living room space with another employee. Each unit is equipped with beds and furniture, closets, living area, and kitchen. There are basic kitchen items available. Intern must bring their own linens and towels. Because it is shared, there is no housing available for spouses, partners, families, or pets. Smoking is not allowed inside housing or any government facilities. Marijuana use is prohibited. Possession or use of marijuana is prohibited on federal lands, including national parks, even if it’s legal by state law and/or used for medicinal purposes. Even though marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, it is not legal for anybody to possess or use it on federal land, which includes park housing. There are laundry facilities within the housing area. The housing area is a 5-minute walk to the visitor center. There is good cell service (by all carriers) in park housing. There is no Wi-Fi, internet, or cable TV installed in park housing. If intern finds that they need/want connectivity in housing, we recommend purchasing a personal wi-fi device from a cell phone wireless carrier. There is public Wi-Fi in the visitor center that may be used.

education, interpretation, snow science, snowshoe, cross-country ski, snow survey, hydrology

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.)