En español | That iconic shot of Half Dome, the selfie at the Grand Canyon, the walk around Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin: They're all ways to get to know the national parks. But submerging yourself in one as a volunteer — for a week, a month or even a year — well, that's experiencing the parks in a totally different way.
In 2014, 246,000 people (40 percent of them seniors) donated 6.7 million hours as volunteers for the National Park Service in the more than 400 units of the system (which include historic sites, seashores, parkways, battlefields and more). They sold postcards and travel mugs in visitor centers, shoveled dirt as members of trail crews, performed living history plays, built websites and did search and rescue. Do you own an RV? You could be a campground host with free accommodation in a world-renowned setting.