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Environment & Climate Change

Michigan DNR raising pay to lure seasonal parks workers

dnr seasonal.jpg
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it's still looking for people to fill summer jobs. The department is upping its starting pay to $15 an hour.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has raised starting pay in an effort to attract more seasonal workers at state parks.

The DNR is touting perks like flexible scheduling and appealing outdoor work areas along with the higher wages. The department said earlier this month that 400 jobs were yet to be filled for this summer.

Typically, the DNR hires about 1,300 seasonal workers to maintain the parks during the summer.

Starting pay has normally ranged from $10.20 to $12 an hour, but that’s being upped to a $15 hourly rate.

DNR Parks and Recreation chief Ron Olson said the shortage is greatest in places with lots of competition from the commercial tourism industry, like the Straits of Mackinac area.

Remote areas are also a challenge. "Like in the Muskallonge State Park and even Tahquamenon Falls and places that are great places to visit, and they’re heavily visited," he said. "But they’re far away from any real population centers.”

The state requires applicants to pass a drug test. The DNR said parks and recreation experience is desired, but training is also available.

Olson said these jobs can be stepping stones for students considering careers in natural resources. They also can appeal to retirees or anyone looking for temporary work over the summer.

The department said it shifted state parks funding to implement the pay increase.