Program Manager

  • Denali National Park, AK
  • Listing Opening Date: September 21, 2022
  • Listing Closing Date: October 31, 2022

Website Camp Denali

Camp Denali is a family-owned and operated wilderness lodge.

Job Excerpt:

The Program Manager is a leader and a working supervisor with oversight of Camp Denali’s guest programs. This role requires the supervisory, academic, and risk management background to train and support a team of approximately six naturalist guides and four guest hosts to perform at a superior level for the duration of our short, intense summer season. Camp Denali's unique setting is the context for our signature guided outings, and it is essential that the Program Manager not only bring a depth of knowledge about the natural and cultural history of our specific location, but also have professional outdoor leadership experience in the backcountry. This job is based deep within Denali National Park for the summer and accessible only by air for at least the next couple of seasons.


About the Program Department The Program Department supports Camp Denali’s mission of “providing active learning experiences and fostering stewardship of the natural world through a tradition of excellence, community, and place.” The Program Department encompasses guest services and educational opportunities, including naturalist guided hikes and excursions conducted under a concession contract with the park. Other program elements include evening presentations given by naturalist staff or visiting guest speakers through the Special Emphasis Series (SES). The guest services realm of the Program Department involves coordinating the guest stay with a high standard of customer service, while helping to foster a sense of community. Staffing within the Program Department varies, but generally includes six naturalist guides and up to four guest hosts.

Program Manager Position Description The Program Manager oversees Camp Denali’s guest programs. In collaboration with Management, the Program Manager develops the overarching plan for educational programs and implements all aspects of programming. In-season, the Program Manager position is paired with a combination of guiding, hosting, shuttle driving, and office support; all managers complete administrative and supervisory tasks and are scheduled to work approximately 2 days/week outside of the office. Work assignments are determined by manager’s skills and company needs. Summer workweeks are 50+ hours.

Compensation Salary is $5,300 – $5,700/month, commensurate with training and experience. A high-deductible group health insurance plan, which can be paired with an employee-funded Health Savings Account (HSA) is offered. Health insurance premiums are currently paid 100% by the company; coverage continues through the off-season when it is the Program Manager’s intention to return the following season. A retirement savings option is provided beginning in the third year of employment via a SIMPLE IRA; the employer provides an annually revised contribution of up to 3%, which may be dependent on employee participation. There are no charges for room or board during the summer season. Summer guest gratuities are pooled and divided equally among all staff, amounting to approximately $500/person/month. This position is eligible for the seasonal travel stipend, paid upon completion of a full contracted season to help defray the cost of travel. Off-season work is paid monthly at an hourly rate of at least $25.00.

Major Functions

  • Support the SES program by generating ideas in collaboration with Management during the off-season and by acting as point person for in-season communications and during their visits.
  • Draft messaging to promote the SES program for marketing materials and travel partners, as needed.
  • Participate in recruitment efforts for Naturalist Guides and collaborate with the Personnel Manager through the hiring process, including conducting second interviews with candidates.
  • Plan pre-season trainings for Naturalist Guides covering backcountry safety, interpretation/teaching techniques, route-finding, and group management. Training topics for Guest Hosts include public speaking, logistics and details, customer service, group management, and health & safety. Provide ongoing support and coaching throughout the season.
  • Supervise Naturalist Guides and Guest Hosts, including conducting their mid-season and end-of-season evaluations.
  • Collaborate with Personnel Manager on creating the weekly schedule.
  • Collaborate with the Transportation Coordinator to ensure that drivers who transport guests are adequately trained for driving and interpreting the landscape.
  • Maintain inventory of programmatic materials & interpretative aids.
  • Oversee risk management of Camp Denali’s guest activities.
  • Represent Camp Denali in relationships with National Park Service (NPS), park concessionaires, and the public.
  • Maintain Resource Room exhibits & resources.
  • Act as liaison with NPS regarding concession contract compliance & evaluations/coaching.
  • Report to NPS regarding concession activity as required under concession contract.
  • Collaborate on citizen science and research projects with NPS and other entities.
  • Promote staff morale by providing effective and positive leadership.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Two or more years of supervisory experience. Exceptional verbal and written communication skills, particularly the ability to provide timely guidance, both positive and corrective, to Naturalist Guides and Guest Hosts. Demonstrated ability to evaluate educational programs and modify as necessary. Insurable driving record. Current Wilderness First Responder certificate or ability to obtain one prior to the start of the season. Professional outdoor leadership experience in the backcountry/wilderness for off-trail navigation and risk management. Previous professional experience as a guide/trip leader providing naturalist-led outings. Ability to train others in the safe use of bikes and canoes. The ability to be comfortable in, and prepare guides and guests for, a wide range of inclement and variable weather (wind/rain/sleet/snow/intense sun/heat) is key to success in this role. In-depth knowledge of the natural and cultural history of Denali National Park. A solid background in the natural sciences and education (MS preferred) with experience in arctic/sub-arctic or alpine regions. Computer and internet skills, preferably with experience in a Mac environment. Well versed in using Microsoft Office products. Professional attitude, language, and approach to tasks. Strong team player including the willingness to fill-in for absent supervisees or co-workers. Attention to detail and thoroughness. This position requires the ability to plan, make decisions and work independently, with little oversight, and to work strategically with NPS.

Other Requirements We ask for a three-season commitment for this role. It is imperative that all staff bring a genuine desire to live and work in a remote, self-sufficient, small community setting. Working at Camp Denali requires a willingness to pitch in, sometimes outside of posted work hours. All staff are required to be “up-to-date” with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Working Conditions & Physical Demands Be willing and able to work seven days per week through “Orientation Week” when we are training staff and getting ready for our first guests of the season to arrive. There is a similar push at the end of the season, as we are closing things down in mid-September. In-season working conditions vary from sedentary, office-based work to guiding strenuous hikes in the Denali backcountry and helping with physically demanding cleaning chores. Working at a fly-in lodge, means we all participate in hauling cargo; everyone should be able to lift and carry 50 pounds. Walking is our primary mode of transportation at Camp Denali.

Weather and working conditions in Denali’s backcountry are highly variable, from downright unpleasant to sublime. A positive mindset, tolerance, and sense of humor toward swarms of mosquitos and biting flies are essential in this role.

Job Contact Name: Megan Meyer

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