Workcamping at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery
What is Workcamping? Workamping is a combination of work and camping. A Workamper may combine part-time or full-time paid or volunteer work with RV or tent camping. At Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, our Workcamping program plays an essential role in keeping our Visitor/Environmental Education Center open to the public 364 days a year (every day except Christmas) and assisting with Fish Production activities in the cooler months.
Workcampers at Wolf Creek apply for volunteer opportunities through Volunteer.gov or by contacting volunteer coordinator Marsha Hart. There are 2 types of opportunities available at Wolf Creek, Visitor Services and Fish Production. The Visitor Services opportunity includes meeting/greeting the public; answering questions; fielding phone calls; performing majority of cleaning (including Center restrooms) & minor maintenance; leading tours and helping with field trips; caring for live animals; operating Center gift shop; issuing hunting/fishing licenses; stocking/tracking/brochures; and helping plan/prepare special events, workshops, and outreach programs. We do prefer to hire couples as Workcampers for the Visitor/Environmental Education Center opportunity due to the great responsibility of the job, along with task of always watching the front desk/gift shop area. The Fish Production opportunity is only available during the fall/winter months when the Visitor Center is less busy, and the job duties include assisting with various fish production activities such as raceway/tank cleaning and maintenance, moving, weighing, splitting, and feeding fish, and grounds maintenance. This position involves physical work, mostly in an outdoor setting. Candidates must be prepared to work in adverse weather conditions such as cold, rain, snow, wind.
In exchange for an average of 20-25 hours per week (per person if a couple), the Workcampers receive a campsite with a beautiful view. According to many Workcampers, Wolf Creek’s full hook up (FHU) deluxe campsites are some of the nicest they have visited. Wolf Creek campsites boast level gravel lots, picnic tables, fire rings; 50/30-amp electrical service, water, and sewer hook ups. Onsite laundry, limited Wi-Fi, along with complimentary propane offered during winter months is included as well. There are 5 RV sites on the hatchery grounds.
Wolf Creek NFH depends on Workcampers to make our facility run efficiently and smoothly. The campsites are usually full at all times, with just a few lapses between Workcampers that are departing and new ones arriving. Once settled, Workcampers are given a 2-day training, and then they shadow a seasoned Workcamper couple before working on their own. Our Workcamper couples are given much responsibility and trust as they join the Wolf Creek family, and our goal is to make them feel welcome, appreciated, and valued during their volunteer service, which usually last from 3-6 months. During a typical year, Wolf Creek NFH will hire and train 15-18 Workcamping couples, many who want to sign up for another opportunity once they are ready to leave.
Not only does our Workcamping program provide valuable help to the hatchery, but some of the most rewarding aspects are the friendships and bonds that are created through working for a common cause. Whether it’s giving tours to school groups, helping in a fishing derby or event like Earth Day, to everyday work that happens at Wolf Creek, the common goal of working to meet the mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service is evident and uniting.