Volunteer with Elk Neck State Park

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers pick up litter at Elk Neck State Park.

Message from Our Volunteers

Just over five years ago we came to Elk Neck State Park to camp and see what the park had to offer. We had heard many positive things about the park. What we found was not just a park but a destination, a destination that we soon realized we wanted to be part of. That is why we became volunteers at Elk Neck. Since then we have discovered much more. A serene walk on the trails, just relaxing by the river to watch the boats go by in the evening, watching the sunset on the beach, a stroll to the lighthouse or an enjoyable time sitting by the campfire. Elk Neck has become a home to us and the people whom we have met and work with have become family. We have experienced the opportunity to see the park come to life in the spring after a long winter’s nap and have seen the park prepare to sleep in the fall. A beautiful life cycle that we would not have had the opportunity to experience if we were not volunteers. We have been to many state parks not just in Maryland, and find that Elk Neck holds a special place in our hearts. The people, the wildlife and the beauty make Elk Neck a very special place to be. Volunteering has allowed us to help others who visit and has allowed us to give back. It is a very special and unique opportunity that we are thankful for.
Dennis & Jane Schlossman, Camp Hosts/Volunteer Ranger

If you are interested in volunteering at Elk Neck State Park, or other Maryland Park Service facilities, please visit the Maryland State Parks Service Volunteer Webpage.

Volunteer Opportunities at Elk Neck State Park

Trail Volunteer
With 12 miles of trail Elk Neck State Park visitors are able to hike through areas that represent the diverse landscapes of Maryland. From the cliffs off Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail to tidal waters circled by the Beaver Marsh Loop, the trails have offerings for all interests and ability levels.

Elk Neck State Park Trail Volunteers come with a variety of skills and abilities. Some volunteers have years of experience working on trails and bring their own tools to use. Others hike the trails and inform Park Staff of any problem areas or fallen trees. Through organized trail work days and the dedicated work of trail volunteers, the safety and accessibility of the hiking trails is maintained for the 400,000 visitors that Elk Neck State Park hosts every year.

Volunteer Naturalist
Volunteer Naturalists conduct a wide range of tasks. From assisting with educational programs to daily care of the Scales & Tales reptiles at Elk Neck State Park, Volunteer Naturalists are a valuable resource for educational outreach. Like all volunteers, Volunteer Naturalists come from all age groups, high school through retirement, and invigorate the programs with excitement and knowledge of the environment and outdoors. The Nature Center at Elk Neck State Park is open May through October (open hours vary, call the park for details) and is always in need of volunteers.

Beach and Litter Clean-Up Volunteer
Throughout the year there are organized beach clean-ups to remove all of the trash and debris that washes up on the shorelines of Elk Neck State Park. The park also has 12 miles of trails and several day-use areas that occasionally need a helping hand to be kept clean. Can’t join a clean-up but still interested in picking up trash as you hike one the beautiful trails? Elk Neck State Park will provide trash bags and gloves!

Turkey Point Lighthouse Volunteer
Built in 1833, this historic lighthouse sits atop a 100-foot high bluff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. This lighthouse has been part of Chesapeake Bay history for generations, safeguarding people who have lived, worked, and traveled here.

On weekends during the summer season, visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and share an experience with the lighthouse keepers of history. Turkey Point Lighthouse volunteers play a vital role in enhancing the Turkey Point visitor experience. Volunteers are needed to open the lighthouse, assist in the gift shop, and maintain the lighthouse and adjacent structures. Interested in volunteering at the Turkey Point Lighthouse? Visit www.tpls.org for more information.

Other Volunteer Opportunities
Looking to organize a volunteer event for your school, work, or group? Have other ideas on how you would like to give back to Elk Neck State Park? Staff would love to hear your ideas and help you get out in the park giving back. Please contact the Park Office at (410-287-5333). All activities must be approved and scheduled prior to arrival.

Interested in Giving More to Elk Neck State Park?

Below are some more intensive volunteer opportunities.

Camp Hosts
The Maryland Park Service Campground Host Program invites volunteers into the parks for the camping season. In exchange for working to clean and maintain their assigned camping loop and bathhouse on a daily basis, Camp Hosts receive free camping. Hosts are a vital contact point between campground visitors and park staff.

Hosts are required to provide at least 20 hours of volunteer service per week. Hosts must be on site Friday evening through Sunday afternoon in order to assist with the busy weekend camping. The hosting season begins in early March and runs through October for many of the camping loops. At Elk Neck State Park each full hook-up host site is located near the loop’s bathhouse and a water spigot. Hosts are required to stay for a minimum of two months. Priority is given to hosts that are available to stay for the entire season as well as seven days per week. Additional volunteer opportunities are available to hosts who show interest in helping out in other aspects of park operations, such as maintenance or educational programming.

For more information, please visit the Maryland State Park Volunteer Camp Host web page.

Volunteer Rangers
Become a Volunteer Ranger and help protect Maryland's natural resources! The Volunteer Ranger Program is for people ages 18 and above who want to assist the Department's regular work force in State Parks with operations, programs and public service. Volunteers are trained and provided with uniforms for their jobs once they have completed 40 hours of volunteer service at a State Park.

Orientation training helps Volunteer Rangers become acclimated to the Maryland Park Service. Additional training opportunities may include CPR, first aid, search and rescue, and trail stewardship. Trainings are offered on a regional basis.

As ambassadors of the State Parks, Volunteer Rangers serve a vital role to the public. Thousands of visitors to Maryland's State Parks look to Volunteer Rangers for guidance and help.

For more information about becoming a Volunteer Ranger visit the Volunteer Ranger Program web page.

​​