Volunteering with the Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest
Volunteering on your public lands is a great way to spend a summer, jump-start your career, or serve your country. If you volunteer with the Forest Service or one of our partners, you can build trails, help maintain facilities and grounds, and greet visitors in our visitor centers. To learn more about the Forest Service’s national volunteer program, or to find information about volunteering outside of Oregon and Washington, you can check out our national volunteering website.
What you can do as a volunteer
In 2010, nearly 15 thousand students, seniors, adults, children, parents, and international visitors volunteered in National Forests in Oregon and Washington. There are a variety of activities you can do, including:
Building and maintaining trails
Answering phones, greeting visitors, and answering mail at Forest Service visitor centers and ranger stations
Working with computers in Forest Service administrative offices
Planting trees and seeding damaged areas
Presenting environmental education programs
You can work part time or full time, participate in a day-long project, or serve over several months, seasons, or years.
Where you can volunteer
There are 17 Forests and one National Scenic Area in Oregon and Washington, each with its own history, culture, and special places. We’re proud to steward:
The Pacific Northwest Region also includes the rugged pacific coast, the temperate coastal mountain rainforests, emerald-green river valleys, the snow-capped Cascades and Blue Mountains, and the expansive, arid, sunbathed high desert.
How to get started
If you’d like to volunteer on your Oregon and Washington National Forests, you can do the following:
Decide what you want to do, and what kind of time commitment you’re able to make. If you’re looking for a full-time summer activity, we suggest you look at the options on our Job Training and Internships, and Campground Hosting pages. If you’d like to work outdoors on the weekends, check out our Weekend Volunteer Opportunities webpage. If you’re looking for a job, we suggest you check out our Jobs and Volunteering page.
If you don’t fit into any of the above categories, you can fill out a Forest Service Volunteer Application and send it to one of our Forest volunteer coordinators. If you’re not sure where you want to volunteer, you can send the filled out volunteer application to the regional coordinator.
Opportunities to Volunteer in Botany
Come join us! If you are interested contact the Botany Program Coordinator in the area you wish to work, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail address can be found in the Pacific North West Botanist list.
Volunteer Success Stories
Fishy Business: Youth Volunteers Assist in Relocating 25,000 Fish from the Meacham Creek Restoration Site
The last thing you’d expect to see at 6 AM on a lazy summer morning is a group of young kids sitting next to the curb waiting for a bus. What were these kids doing, you ask? They were volunteering to help with one of the largest stream restoration projects in the region.
In partnership with the Umatilla Basin Watershed Council and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), the Umatilla National Forest gathered 30 youth and adult volunteers from across the county to assist in the week-long fish relocation project. Two Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crews from Heppner, OR and Pomeroy, WA also participated in the event.
Continue reading about this volunteer event here!
Sand Mountain Society Recognized for Efforts at Wildhorse Lookout
The Sand Mountain Society, a highly skilled volunteer group specializing in restoration of historic fire lookouts, was recently recognized by the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF for their extraordinary efforts at the Wildhorse Lookout.
Located on the Gold Beach Ranger District, Wildhorse Lookout served as an Aerial Warning Service outpost during World War II and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only remaining original lookout of the 1930’s “L4” design near the Oregon coast. The Forest Service designed the L-4 for use throughout the Pacific Northwest from the 1930s through the 1950s. It was a 14 foot x 14 foot one story observation cabin combined with living area on a 40 foot timber pole tower. The L-4 fire lookouts were made as kits and packed in with horses in pre-cut pieces and assembled on the mountain.
Continue reading about the Sand Mountain Society and Wildhorse Lookout here!