Hundreds of summer jobs need to be filled across New Jersey's state parks, forests and historic sites.

To ensure park-goers can enjoy all that the state parks system has to offer, the Department of Environmental Protection is recruiting hundreds of seasonal employees.

Jobs range from lifeguards to visitor assistants, nature educators to trail stewards and ground maintenance.

"A summer job with the State Park Service gives our seasonal team members the benefit of enjoying New Jersey's incredible nature and historic resources while developing useful skills that will last a lifetime," said DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette.

While most seasonal jobs are from Memorial Day to Labor Day, select parks need part-time staff year-round. Most jobs are outdoors. Since the facilities are open seven days a week, seasonal staff are required to work weekends and holidays.

Applicants must be 16 years of age or older to apply and applications should be submitted as soon as possible. Salaries start at $15 per hour for most positions.

Lifeguard opportunities

Lifeguards are needed at swimming areas across the state with a starting salary of $17.50 per hour. Oceanfront guards at Island Beach State Park start at $18.50 per hour. Prior experience is not necessary. However, candidates must pass running and swimming tests before employment.

The State Park Service is also expanding its aquatics program this year and will hire junior lifeguards at least 15 years old, at $16 per hour.

Other positions

Trail Steward positions are available at Wawayanda State Park in Passaic and Sussex Counties, and Wharton State Forest in Burlington County. Eligible applicants must be at least 18 years old and must be able to hike long distances daily. Salaries range from $15 per hour.

Visitor service and office assistants help register campers, collect entrance fees, answer phone calls, and provide recordkeeping. Salaries start at $15 per hour.

Naturalists and history educators work with park naturalists and historians at interpretive centers and historic sites. Typical activities include leading interpretive programs, teaching visiting camp groups, and demonstrating a craft. Salaries start at $15 per hour.

Applicants for maintenance personnel positions should expect to assist full-time staff in a variety of tasks including lawn mowing, cleaning of facilities, trash removal, park improvement projects, and other general functions. Salaries start at $15 per hour based on experience.

To learn more about New Jersey's parks, forests and historic sites, visit www.njparksandforests.org.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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