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Northern Arizona University

2002 Environmental Education Outreach Program & Northern Arizona University
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Chapter 2, Section 9:
Parks and Outdoor Recreation

Parks and recreation professionals create and maintain those special outdoor public places where we gather with family and friends to enjoy natural settings. We improve these places with basic conveniences and protect them from commercial development so that they can receive visitors hospitably. Park managers are expected to preserve the beauty and balance in their preserves, yet make them conveniently accessible to all citizens. Parks and recreation is a rapidly growing field that goes far beyond the most visible jobs to embrace dozens of different activities. These fall into five broad categories: administration, explanation and interpretation of natural and cultural sites, natural resource management, research, and operations and maintenance. There are federal, tribal, state, county, city and town park systems all over the country; some are huge, others are not.

Employment Breakdown:
240,000 parks and recreation workers nationwide
Public sector - 80%
Private sector - 15%
Non-profit sector - 5%

Key Job Titles:
  • Administrator
  • Archaeologist
  • Biologist
  • Botanist
  • Campground Director
  • Concession Manager
  • Ecosystem Restoration Expert
  • Ecotour Guide
  • Environmental Interpreter
  • Ranger
  • Geologist
  • Historian
  • Landscape Architect
  • Maintenance Manager
  • Museum Director
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Naturalist
  • Outdoor Recreation Manager
  • Park Planner
  • Wildlife Biologist

Base starting salaries for federal rangers vary from $20,000 to $30,000. Experienced individuals draw salaries of $30,000 to $40,000. State and local park salaries start as low as $10,000 annually, but vary widely by locale. The average is around $20,000.




Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP)
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP)
PO Box 5768     Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5768     Phone: (928) 523-1275     Fax: (928) 523-1280
E-mail: eeop@nau.edu

Last updated: May 27, 2005