Constructing 5 In-Park Homes for Zion Volunteers
In 2018, the committed Volunteers in Park (VIP) team donated more than 32,000 hours of service for Zion; a 10% increase over the previous year and the largest number of volunteer hours ever recorded in the park. This substantial contribution added the equivalent capacity of 14 full-time employees and represents an in-kind service value of nearly $800,000. Zion’s 130 VIPs come to the park on a consistent basis and are joined by many one-time volunteers (including 349 children), who bring their energy and enthusiasm to support Zion’s education, natural resource management, and administrative teams.
As Eleanor Siebers, Zion’s Volunteer Coordinator explains, “Zion National Park is incredibly lucky to have such fabulous and committed volunteers. The park would not be able to function without them.”
When coming to Zion to provide longer-term service, a growing number of volunteers have requested help in finding a location for them to park their recreational vehicles (RVs). To fulfill these requests, the park can either reserve an in-park campsite (which book six months in advance) or refer volunteers to privately-owned RV parks in the surrounding communities. While Zion wishes they could utilize every generous offer for volunteer support, the park unfortunately has to turn down offers of month-long stays because there is no housing available, not even extra RV pads to park a trailer.
In 2020, this project will construct five “home-bases” for park volunteers: RV pads with associated utility connections, picnic tables, and shade shelters. These structures will be located near employee housing and lovingly called “Volunteer Village.” With additional support, the park visions constructing a bath house with a washer, dryer, and freezer for RV owners to utilize. This gift to Zion, and our Zion VIPs, creates permanent, improved facilities within the park boundaries.