Naturalist Guide, Seasonal, Free Room and Board
About Camp Denali in 2023
Camp Denali is a small, family-run wilderness lodge located in the heart of Denali National Park. The Park Road is temporarily closed at its midway point, meaning that our only access is by air. In 2022, we successfully operated as a fly-in lodge and we will continue to do so until the Park Road reopens in 2025. Our remote location combined with limited access informs our risk management efforts, including our policy that all staff and guests be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The position of naturalist guide is a professional role, charged with implementing the educational mission of Camp Denali. A naturalist guide is a teacher of experiential learning, a backcountry hiking guide, and a competent driver. The position will be 2-5 days per week guiding, with the balance of responsibilities in the 5-day workweek in other departments, depending on company needs. The most common schedule is 3 days/week guiding, 2 days/week in other departments.
Pay begins at $18.00 per hour / $27.00 per OT hour / $198.00 per 10-hour day. Employer may pay higher wages based on seniority with Camp Denali and level of skill. Room and professionally prepared meals are provided free for the summer. A travel stipend is paid upon completion of a full season. Gratuities are pooled and divided equally among all staff, amounting to approximately $500/person/month.
A naturalist guide is responsible for safely transporting guests over the park road, leading people safely in the trail-less backcountry of Denali National Park, and using creative teaching techniques to expand the guests’ knowledge of the area and encourage land stewardship. Responsibilities also include eating meals with guests, assisting serving staff, and acting as a resource to guests with questions. This position requires close communication with hosts and the operations crew. Other duties may include, but are not limited to, cleaning vehicles, presenting an evening program, washing dinner dishes, and chopping kindling.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities
This position requires a multi-disciplinary background. A depth and breadth of Alaska-specific knowledge is necessary. However, individuals with initiative, competency and a strong scientific background will be considered if they are willing and able to rapidly learn information specific to the sub-arctic and Denali. By early season, knowledge base should include bird and bird song identification; plant identification (including familiarity with botanical nomenclature and relationships); wildlife ecology; geologic processes; phenomena of northern skies; understanding of nutrient/energy cycling in northern climes; and Alaska’s history, including early humans, today’s Native peoples, statehood, and relevant pivotal legislation (i.e. ANCSA and ANILCA). History and operational features of Camp Denali and Leave No Trace principles appropriate to the sub-arctic will be taught upon arrival.
When the Park Road is restored, we will resume road-based transportation by bus. Looking ahead, naturalist guides may train into a commercial driver license (CDL) to drive up to 32-passenger buses over the unpaved, mountainous Denali Park Road while providing interpretation. Already having a CDL is a plus.
Qualifications / Requirements
• A solid academic background in the natural sciences (MS preferred).
• Previous professional guiding experience.
• Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications.
• Route-finding skills for navigating Denali’s trail-less backcountry terrain.
• Aptitude for using the natural world as a classroom to enhance guests’ understanding of ecology.
• Engaging verbal communication skills, and a true desire to lead and connect with guests of all ages and backgrounds.
• Flexibility, positive attitude, and professionalism at every turn.
• Personal commitment to learning and resourcefulness both on and off the job to establish proficiency in details specific to Denali National Park and Camp Denali. Continual integration of new information about the natural world, cultural milieu, and guest service is expected.
• A genuine desire to live and work in a remote, self-sufficient, small community setting.
• All staff are required to have a current Alaska Food Worker card (online, on-demand, valid for three years).
Strongly Preferred Qualifications
• Experience in arctic/sub-arctic or alpine regions.
• Familiarity with the history and culture of the far north.
Working Conditions & Physical Demands
Hiking in the backcountry requires stamina and the ability to negotiate rough, uneven, and often steep terrain while carrying a heavy daypack. Guided hikes occur rain, shine, or snow. Hikes may include glacial or clear water river crossings and assisting others in the crossing. Other physical demands include loading/unloading gear and sitting for extended periods while driving.
Mile 89, Denali National Park, AK, 99755
Listing Closing Date02 / 28 / 2023
Please visit Camp Denali's employment website to submit an online application. You will be prompted to upload your cover letter and resume as part of the application. You will need to save them as one PDF in order to upload both documents.