Volunteers are trained by Mount San Jacinto State Park staff, in association with members of the Mount San Jacinto Natural History Association. Volunteers augment, but in no way replace, state park staff. Volunteers are distinguished from paid state park staff by their arm patch design. While in uniform and volunteering, volunteers may be perceived by the general public in the same manner as rangers and park aides. Thus, it is important to act and behave in a manner that leaves a positive impression with visitors.

Volunteers are needed to operate the Visitor Center daily throughout the year. Other volunteer opportunities include guiding nature walks in Long Valley, a roving naturalist, ranger station assistant, scool program docent and preventative search and rescue (PSAR). [See below for more detailed description of each job.] Volunteers are expected to volunteer eight hours a month. This can be achieved by operating the Visitor Center for one or two four-hour sessions, or giving two 30 to 45 minute nature walks in a four-hour volunteer day. In 1989, the park rangers formed a separate Volunteer Patrol whose members assist in the Long Valley Ranger Station and patrol wilderness trails.

New volunteers are welcome throughout the year. An introduction/orientation session is required for individuals interested in becoming volunteers. Before attending any training sessions their Volunteer Applications must be approved by the State Park. Once approved, new volunteers will have hands-on Visitor Center training given by a volunteer VC Trainer during one or more regular four-hour volunteer sessions. All-day training sessions for new and veteran volunteers are usually held in June and October.

If interested or for more information, please email park staff at: allison.barnes@parks.ca.gov or call 760-325-4970.


Roving interpretation refers to stationing interpreters in high use areas for informal contacts with visitors. The interpreters work at a particular spot, often demonstrating a craft skill or interpreting natural objects. Rovers may also move about the site, interpreting features first-hand, spontaneously, to individuals or a small group. This type of activity requires knowledge and flexibility. Rovers can also provide visitors with current information about hazards such as inclement weather or inappropriate behavior.

A docent in our program refers to a volunteer who works with student groups. He/she has more extensive and specialized training. The programs may be on-site (at the park) or outreach (at a school or other facility). The school programs are usually weekdays and are conducted in Long Valley as weather permits. If trail/weather conditions are poor, programs are conducted in the Mountain Station.

Volunteering in the Ranger Station is a rewarding opportunity. However, you need to be physically fit, and have both Standard First Aid and CPR training. There are many details that you need to handle. Park rangers supervise RS volunteers and provides training for them.

Nature walks are usually conducted from June through September, depending upon weather and snow conditions. They are Saturdays and Sundays. The Desert View hike is in the morning and a guided nature walk is in the afternoon. extensive training is provided, including how to program and conduct a walk, content, and natural history information.


Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) is designed to take an educational approach to improving the experience of new visitors and hikes in the backcountry. The program compliments the SAR efforts of our park staff and the Riverside County Mountain Rescue Unit. It encourages a cooperative effort to educate our visitors on the potential hazards of recreating in the wilderness. The requirements are simple. You must enjoy hiking and interacting with people.

There are many more volunteer opportunities that arise on a continuing basis. And, if you have a suggestion, please let us know about it.

Skip to toolbar