Baxter State Park Interpretive Specialist

Millinocket, Maine, United States | Parks and Recreation | Full-time

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Salary range: $34,153 - $45,718/yr

Baxter State Park, a quasi-state agency preserving and protecting a 209,644 acre wilderness in north-central Maine, seeks an excellent communicator to tell the natural and historical stories of this iconic landscape.  This is a critical position in the Park’s Natural Resource and Visitor Experience Department, which is responsible for natural resource monitoring, visitor information, education and outreach programming, and park interpretation. Through the development of printed materials, digital media, staff training, and program coordination, the position plays a key role in the Park’s efforts to foster a sense of place.  The successful candidate must excel at communicating a narrative of complex ideas to a wide range of audiences, collaborating with staff and colleagues, and possess great passion for Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Region. 

As an independent public trust, donated to the state of Maine by former Governor Percival Baxter for the benefit of the people of Maine, Baxter State Park is a distinctive and special place.  The Park has its own unique governance structure, is self-funded, and boasts an incredible landscape, recognized for its sanctity and power since humans first walked Katahdin’s rugged slopes.  Park staff manage this iconic topography according to Governor Baxter’s wishes as he described them in his Deeds of Trust and other writings, which together shape a complex conservation vision.

Central to the Park’s foundational principles is the directive that opportunities for recreation remain subordinate to the protection of the Park as “Forever Wild”.  The Park’s interpretive philosophy focuses on integrating our unique wilderness concept into place-based education, borrowing from outdoor and environmental education curricula.  Our gentle approach to education aims to foster a connection to nature and allow a sense of personal discovery, with the hope that appreciation follows and inspires a sense of kinship with the natural world.  We seek to balance visitor safety information with enabling visitors to make choices within their tolerance for risk.  Educational programming offerings are minimal, in accordance with Governor Baxter’s intention that the Park not be a destination for passive entertainment. 

Following Governor Baxter’s wishes, the Park does not advertise to increase visitation but seeks to inform and inspire those already visiting or planning their visit, and more generally, all the residents of Maine as beneficiaries of this trust.  The Interpretive Specialist role is core to the Park’s efforts to reach these audiences through printed materials, digital media, program coordination and training Park staff and seasonal interns. 

  • For those planning their visit, informational sources include the Park’s website, social media platforms, the Reservations office in Park headquarters and our on-line reservation site, our Visitor Center at Togue Pond and printed materials offered at Maine Tourism Association Welcome centers across the state. This position is responsible for content management for the Park’s digital media avenues, printed materials for outreach, and coordinating with Reservation office staff to understand and assist with the informational needs of the thousands of people who call in each year.
  • For those already visiting, due to the vast acreage and dispersed use, we rely heavily on passive educational materials such as signs and posters at gates, campgrounds, the Visitor Center, and other recreation sites. Campground Rangers and gate staff are important conduits for visitor contact.  Programming within the Park represents a smaller, but important visitor contact opportunity, and is often performed by interns who are functionally supervised by the interpretive specialist. Junior ranger programs and thoughtfully placed signage augment the Park’s effort to reach visitors as they recreate. This position is responsible for the planning, creation, dissemination, and coordination of these materials and programs and for leading interpretive training of Park staff.
  • For those nearby the Park and other Maine residents, the interpretive specialist is responsible for the development, coordination, and delivery of passive materials and active school and community programming, particularly during the winter months.

The position is responsible, under the direction of the Natural Resource Director, for

  • Communicating the Park history and mission to a broad range of audiences
  • Developing written, graphic, and audio-visual interpretive materials and programs related to the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the Park targeted at audiences including Park staff, the public, visitors, volunteers, and school communities across Maine with a focus on gateway communities
  • Developing and providing informational resources for campgrounds, gatehouses, headquarters, and local venues
  • Acting as an interpretive resource and trainer for Park staff
  • Leading the recruitment, hiring, training, and workplan development for several wilderness educator interns each season
  • Shaping messages aimed at the health and safety of visitors and appropriate park use in collaboration with ranger staff
  • Designing and coordinating the Park’s digital media presence including the website and social media outlets
  • Working collaboratively and building relationships with Park staff, community members, and colleagues in the fields of natural resources and outdoor recreation
  • Assisting the Natural Resource Director in coordinating and implementing natural resource research and monitoring efforts

 

REPRESENTATIVE TASKS:

  • Assess and organize existing Park interpretive and informational materials for relevance, effectiveness, and consistency
  • Develop printed materials for displays at Park headquarters, the Visitor Center, Gatehouses, and campgrounds
  • Develop basic map products for use in general printed materials
  • Develop unified styling for Park printed materials
  • Train staff on interpretive techniques, including the Authority of the Resource and Leave No Trace principles
  • Produce site-specific Interpretive Plans for each duty station in the Park
  • Coordinate the logistics of the Visiting Artist Program
  • Functionally supervise wilderness educator interns
  • Coordinate Junior Ranger program for delivery by campground Rangers
  • Develop and coordinate Saturday children’s programming in the Park
  • Develop and deliver programs to educate schoolchildren on the Park, Governor Baxter, and the natural world
  • Collaborate with staff on the summit steward program and alpine visitor use monitoring
  • Contribute to Park management planning efforts
  • Assist the Natural Resource Director to coordinate logistics for scientists performing resource monitoring tasks
  • Participate in Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering events

The successful candidate will possess considerable knowledge of

  • Principles, practices, and techniques of natural and cultural interpretive program design
  • Scientific principles, Maine’s natural communities, wildlife, and history
  • Graphic arts
  • Low impact backcountry practices such as Leave No Trace

And be able to

  • Communicate clearly and effectively orally and in writing, including science communication
  • Develop, plan, organize, and implement interpretive programs
  • Prepare, maintain, and disseminate informational material through various means, including website and social media
  • Build strong partnerships and working relationships with staff, visitors, volunteers, and state/regional partners and agencies
  • Manage multiple projects simultaneously and prioritize work based on Park needs
  • Travel in the backcountry through rugged terrain

 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

Three (3) years of education and/or experience in communications, biology/natural resource stewardship, and/or interpretive work. Preference will be given to candidates with three (3) years of demonstrated experience in work similar to this position.

 

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS/SKILLS:

  • Degree in an academic interpretation program, or National Association for Interpretation (or similar) professional certifications
  • Experience as a Leave No Trace Trainer or similar training experience.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the production of compelling audio-visual content
  • Public speaking acumen
  • Familiarity with GIS/GPS

 

BENEFITS

Baxter State Park, while independently funded, shares the same benefit packages as the State employee system.  For this position, that includes health (state pays $460.73 biweekly with health credit, employee contributes $24.25) and dental (state pays $14.60 biweekly, no employee deduction) as well as contributions to Maine Public Employees Retirement System at a rate of 13.16% of pay.  Vacation and sick time accrue at increasing rates with seniority in the state system.  Code  0479,  pay grade 18.

 

MORE ABOUT THE PARK:

An amazing experience awaits you here! Baxter State Park is an iconic four-season wilderness park, home to Katahdin, the tallest peak in Maine. Some of the most remote, rugged country in the Northeast US lies within the 200,000-acre park, including 47 mountain summits, more than 50 pristine lakes and ponds, and over 200 miles of hiking trails. The park offers over 300 sites for camping and primitive lodging in rustic private cabins, shared bunkhouses, lean-tos, and tent sites. Our headquarters is in the gateway town of Millinocket.

The park was designated ‘Forever Wild’ by Percival Baxter, a former Maine Governor, who bequeathed it to the people of Maine. Our primary focus is wilderness preservation, while providing unique opportunities for visitors to experience and appreciate this iconic landscape.

You’ll find working at Baxter State Park is not just a job, it’s an adventure. We want you to bring your skills, experience, and your sense of wonder to Baxter State Park. By joining our hardworking team, you can inspire current and future generations to love and appreciate spending time in the wilderness.

Join us to preserve the wildness and protect the experience in this wild, rugged landscape.

Click Here for a Map of Baxter Park

 

TO APPLY:

Click on the link below to fill out an application and to upload a cover letter and resume.