Seasonal rangers enjoy summer parks jobs; county on lookout for more help

When Ali Garrett was growing up in Sweet Home, her family enjoyed camping at Cascadia State Park, where she and her twin sister explored old-growth Douglas fir trees and hiking trails.

“We would see park rangers and we thought that would be a great job,” she said.

Garrett now has what she considers her “perfect job” as a seasonal Park Ranger with Linn County Parks.

“I love this job,” the 48-year-old Garrett said. “It can be hard work at times, but at the end of the day, I feel awesome. It’s the best job I have ever had.”

She and fellow seasonal ranger Derek Allen, 26, are beginning their second summers with Linn County Park & Recreation.

Garrett spent last summer working in guest services – cleaning things – and worked at Waterloo, Lewis Creek and Sunnyside parks.

“I used to work running a lawn maintenance crew at Sunshine Industries and I really enjoyed being outdoors,” Garrett said.

This summer, she’ll be a seasonal ranger working primarily at River Bend County Park east of Sweet Home.

“I will assist full-time Ranger Cade Pulliam with a variety of things,” she said. “I will do everything from clean restrooms to mow grass and take care of our trails.”

A major difference between working in guest services and her new job is that she will now also be responsible for answering lots of questions from guests as well as making sure they follow park rules.

Allen has a degree in Outdoor Recreation from Oregon State and didn’t think he was going to be able to work for Linn County this summer because his National Guard Unit based in Dallas, Oregon, was serving in the Afghan relocation camps in Indiana.

“We were supposed to be there until December, but we came home after six months,” he said. “I had kept in contact with Adam Brenneman and he said they needed help.”

Allen said he also enjoys his job because of the great variety of duties he is required to perform in a typical day.

For example, one day he was burning a wood pile at Waterloo County Park and the next day he was helping Adam take water samples at the U.S. Forest Service campsites.

“You have to like interacting with people – even when they might be a bit upset – be able to think on your feet to solve problems and perhaps most importantly, be able to switch from one project to another quickly and repeatedly as needs change.”

Allen said the great variety of duties makes “the days go by very quickly and you feel like you accomplished something.”

Linn County Parks & Recreation has several summer jobs open. Job applications can be found online at linnparks.com/general-info/jobs-volunteer.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer