NFR Summer Jobs: Fish Intern or Fire Watcher?

camtheflyman

Not sponsored
How many years of college do you have left??

Once in the Federal employment system as a summer employee it is pretty simple to get other jobs. When I was in college I made a point of telling the National Forest that I wanted to get a different job and work elsewhere in the system. That worked out well. Did that three of four times.

Lookout is the one job I never did. Be sure you like being alone, and reading UNLESS you are close enough for tourists to visit. Then you became a visitor information person. Also being on a glass bottom chair in the middle of a lighting storm, must be an experience. Some pretty tough dudes, when I heard them on the radio after a lighting storm seemed a bit more humble.

As others mentioned, doing creel surveys is fun in that you get to speak to the public. And there is a lot to be said for the bikini hatch at lakes. I had a great job once on a NPS lake doing a carrying capacity study. It was fun and the bikini hatch was a great working environment.

I would go with the lookout. Something I tried to do for years and never got the chance. After be in there awhile be clear that you would like other experiences and jobs the following years. If it turns out to be a wet year....they might pull you off to do other things anyway.

Do you know what lookout you would be assigned to?? Look at it in Google earth.
I do know which lookout I will be assigned to and I’m pretty familiar with the area. Hearing your positive experience with transferring jobs that’s definitely a plus. I have a year and a half left after this semester of school.
 

kpb

Member
When I was a hotshot firefighter I got to be a replacement fire lookout a few times a summer. It was a bit slow; however there was time to read, there were visitors to the tower and radio traffic that kept things interesting enough. Being in the tower during a thunderstorm was exciting; you had to sit in the chair with the insulators for feet. (Don't know if they still do that anymore) If there was a fire it got more interesting as the lookouts had to locate the fire, help direct crews to the fire and relay and repeat radio traffic.
 

Milt Roe

Active Member
A career in the field of fish management/biology/ecology is a difficult path for sure, so be careful not to unnecessarily narrow your potential employment choices down. Keep an open mind. BLM is one option. There are others.

After completing my education in fisheries at UW, I worked in temporary positions for multiple state, Federal, municipal, and private entities until I found a permanent position. Almost gave up on my goal several times.

Flash forward - I recently retired after 30 years as a fish biologist in the private sector, I never imagined that is where I would end up but it was a good outcome for me.

Build your portfolio of experience while you are getting started to support achieving your long-term career objectives, don't exclude job options and employers that provide a stepping stone to your success. And don't rule out unexpected employment opportunities that present themselves along the way.

Good luck...

Milt
 

Dustin Bise

Active Member
Short answer is yes to all of those. I spent 4 summers in high school and beginning of college tour guiding in a gold mine for the summers. Last summer I was in Alaska on a fishing boat. During school I deliver pizzas and sell bacon if that helps. This summer some extra quiet might be helpful as I am going to be fielding some phone appointments and calls for my brother's business.
i love bacon. thats a important career
 

Dustin Bise

Active Member
id try to get on a trail crew or look at americorps for the most awesome jobs within the USFS. I worked on a conservation crew for a year (steelhead trib restoration) and a pacific crest backcountry trail crew. they both involved decent pay, scholorship, stewardship, wilderness, and great life experience.
 

Denny Wagenman

Active Member
I spent two weeks at the Tunk Mountain Lookout in Eastern Washington one summer while the regular had some personal business to take care of. Boring as hell. Do the fish thing!!
 

Mark Dankel

Active Member
Retired federal senior executive service guy, here. There are three ways (at least) to look at this: (1) what's the most fun; (2) what will add most to your skills; (3) what will make you more "marketable" downstream (which is not always the same as "skills".) The neat thing - they're all good. You just have to determine which is in YOUR best interests. Were it me, I'd chose whatever has the most interaction with people as a representative of the agency. FWIW.
 

cmann886

Active Member
How many years of college do you have left??

Once in the Federal employment system as a summer employee it is pretty simple to get other jobs. When I was in college I made a point of telling the National Forest that I wanted to get a different job and work elsewhere in the system. That worked out well. Did that three of four times.

Lookout is the one job I never did. Be sure you like being alone, and reading UNLESS you are close enough for tourists to visit. Then you became a visitor information person. Also being on a glass bottom chair in the middle of a lighting storm, must be an experience. Some pretty tough dudes, when I heard them on the radio after a lighting storm seemed a bit more humble.

As others mentioned, doing creel surveys is fun in that you get to speak to the public. And there is a lot to be said for the bikini hatch at lakes. I had a great job once on a NPS lake doing a carrying capacity study. It was fun and the bikini hatch was a great working environment.

I would go with the lookout. Something I tried to do for years and never got the chance. After be in there awhile be clear that you would like other experiences and jobs the following years. If it turns out to be a wet year....they might pull you off to do other things anyway.

Do you know what lookout you would be assigned to?? Look at it in Google earth.
A friend of mine was a look out many years ago. At that time, most lookouts did not last more than one severe thunderstorm. It would be quite the adventure. If you can, try to talk to some lookouts from that past couple of years and get a feel for what it would be like for you. As previously stated communication skills and I would add marketing are essential in any field of work that you will go into. Not developing in these two areas will limit your value to any company you work for. Should you own you own business, these two skills will be even more important.

The bikini hatch is over rated. Scratch that off the list of considerations.
 

Guy Gregory

Active Member
Fire lookout. Fish work, not so good. Bikini hatch? In the words of Edward Abbey: “A eoman is a woman, but a good Ford is a car.”
Of course this is my opinion, FWIW.
 

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