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Michigan state parks seek seasonal workers ahead of summer

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - State parks in Michigan are looking for seasonal workers with their busiest time of year right around the corner.

16 News Now interviewed some of the operators of Warren Dunes State Park and while they seem to be set to run the Dunes this summer, that doesn’t mean they’re fully staffed.

They’re expecting roughly 15 employees at the beginning of the summer to do the work of a 20-person crew.

The Michigan DNR says they expect to have roughly 900 seasonal workers on the books by Memorial Day.

That’s 400 shy of the total amount they need to fill all of their positions.

“Our contact station, our campground, the maintenance of this park. We have 1,952 acres we have to take care of,” said Johnny Ford, a Warren Dunes State Park supervisor.

Warren Dunes has around eleven seasonal workers on staff right now and are anticipating four more when everyone is out of school.

If they can’t reach their goal of 20 staff members, they just make due with what they have.

“Seasonal workers here do a lot between landscaping, janitorial work, trash pick up, registration of campers, and registration of day use visitors and so forth,“ said Drew Montgomery, the manager of Warren Dunes State Park. “The staff know they at times get spread thin, but we make sure we get things done from that time period through the entire day, until night fall. Then we start over and do it again.”

The person in charge of DNR Parks and Rec for the whole state said that staffing challenges are impacted by competition from other seasonal industries in the state, drug test requirements, and a starting hourly pay of just a little over ten bucks an hour.

“We’ve found that pay rates in a lot of places have jumped up where we’re at a little over ten bucks an hour starting. A lot of places now are at fifteen bucks an hour and then some. So, we’re trying to work on getting our pay rates up,” said Ron Olsen, Michigan DNR Parks and Recreation Chief.

Even though it’s unclear if the number of employees will meet the need statewide, Montgomery says this shouldn’t limit access to the park or limit opportunities for visitors at Warren Dunes.

So obviously, they’re hiring.

If you’re still looking for a fun way to spend your summer, or are curious about openings at Warren Park Dunes, reach out to Johnny Ford by calling 269-426-4013.

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