Living at a National Park – Alicia Kelley

Have you ever wondered what it is like to live at a national park? I will cover my experience thus far at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Point Reyes National Seashore View from Chimney Rock Hike. Description: Small green and brown shrubs in foreground. Dark green trees, small roofed structure, and blue ocean in midground. Cliff-like edges of coast and blue sky in background.

A day in the life living and working at Point Reyes National Seashore:

7am: I wake up and get ready for the day. I always pack a lunch, water, and snacks because there aren’t places to buy quick meals nearby. I live at a relatively large national park, which means it takes about half an hour to drive from my park residence to my place of work.

Reminder to myself: Don’t forget your radio! The park radios are essential to have in case of an emergency because there isn’t much service around.

Point Reyes National Seashore Lighthouse Observation Deck. Description: Young woman in LHIP uniform standing in front of a fence with lighthouse in midground. Dark blue ocean and light blue sky in background.

8:20am: I leave for work. There is an ocean view as I drive, as well as the view of several cows! I arrive a few minutes early and get settled in.

9am-5:30pm: My supervisor lets me know the game plan for the day. I work in Interpretation, Outreach, and Digital Communication. This means that my internship is a mixture of field and office work. Sometimes I drive around the park and get to know the trails so that I am able to answer questions visitors ask. I have hiked a few trails so far and find them all enjoyable. Many hikes here have beautiful ocean views. I have been training to be at the front desk and answer the many questions we receive at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. I have also been trained to open and close the visitor center. Sometimes, I may be helping a customer with their purchases at the bookstore. I take my lunch around 12:30pm.

Point Reyes National Seashore Abbotts Lagoon Trail. Description: Path leading to a small flat wooden bridge with surrounding green and brown shrubs. Green/brown hills and cloudy sky in background.

5:30pm: Option 1: I drive home after work. Once I have collected some recyclables at home, I take it to the designated recycling area near work. I catch up on social media and chat with family members and friends (I got lucky because I have Wi-Fi at the park residence). Sometimes I watch a movie or do something productive depending on how I feel. I also take a shower during early night time. Option 2: I tend to need gas pretty often since the park is very spread apart. I head to a neighboring city or town to go to the store and get gas. If I choose this option, I make sure to return by 8pm or so before the sun sets. I usually encounter Tule Elk on the road on my way home this late at night!

8pm: I make dinner and create a plan for what lunch I will bring the next day. I set aside any specific items I will need the following day into one section of my room. If I went with “Option 2” above, I would take a late shower after dinner. I then go to sleep.

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