Volunteer With Elk Neck State Park
Message from the Park Manager
“Elk Neck State Park presents many volunteer opportunities for a variety of people. Opportunities range from hosting in the campground to assisting with programs at the park nature center. Others feel more comfortable working on trail maintenance or performing general park maintenance. Others who want to volunteer long term may decide to join the volunteer ranger program. Whatever your background or special interest, Elk Neck State Park staff will work with you to make you feel part of the team. Volunteers contribute thousands of hours per year to making Elk Neck State Park safe, fun and enjoyable.”
Ranger Nicole Merrick
Turkey Point Lighthouse Volunteer at Elk Neck State Park
Built in 1833, this historic lighthouse sits atop a 100-foot high bluff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The lighthouse pointed the way to safe waters for nearly 175 years. Many incredible tales unfolded right here under the watchful beacon of the Turkey Point Lighthouse: stories of heroism, daunting challenges, and even tragedy. 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.
The Turkey Point Light Station volunteers play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the Turkey Point Lighthouse. Volunteers are needed to open the lighthouse for visitors, assist in the gift shop, and in general upkeep of the lighthouse and adjacent structures.
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 rangers become acclimated to the state park service. Additional training opportunities, that may include CPR, first aid, search and rescue, and trail stewardship, 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.
With 12 miles of variable terrain trails Elk Neck visitors are able to hike through a multitude of scenic vistas. From the cliffs of Turkey Point to the placid beaver marsh loop, our trails offer something for all interests. By organizing trail work days and employing trail volunteers we are able to maintain our hiking trails, keeping them open and safe from hazards for all visitors to enjoy. Our trail volunteers come with a variety of skills and abilities. Some have years of experience working on trails and bring their own tools to use, while others share the use of park tools or just hike the trails and inform us of any problem areas or fallen trees. With park staff working side by side with volunteers we have been fortunate enough to keep the trails at Elk Neck State Park open and accessible to the nearly 300,000 visitors that enjoy the park every year.
The Nature Center at Elk Neck State Park is open May through October and is always in need of volunteers. Volunteer activities available through the Nature Center range from conducting programs for park visitors, to feeding display animals, to assisting the Park Naturalists with regularly scheduled educational programs. Our Nature Center volunteers come from all age groups, high school through retirement, and invigorate the programs with excitement and knowledge in the outdoors.
The campground host program invites volunteers to a season of camping in the beautiful setting of Maryland State Parks. A campground host receives free camping in exchange for working to clean and maintain their assigned camping loop and bathhouse on a daily basis. Our hosts are a vital contact point between campground visitors and park staff. These dedicated volunteers are often found walking through their camping loops greeting visitors, answering questions, or reminding campers of park policies, in addition to cleaning and maintaining the camp loop bath house.
Hosts are required to be on site Friday evening through Sunday afternoon in order to assist with the busy weekend camping and provide 20 hours of volunteer service per week. The hosting season begins in early March and runs through October for many of our camping loops. Each camp host site has electrical hook-ups and 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 Nature Center programs.
Although our state parks follow a trash free policy, often our visitors do not. We work with local community school groups, scouts, and other volunteers to aid us in keeping our park clean and beautiful for all visitors to enjoy. Throughout the year we organize several beach clean-ups to remove all of the trash and debris that washes ashore on our beach areas. Elk Neck State Park also has 12 miles of trails and several day-use areas that occasionally need a helping hand to keep clean. We welcome anyone interested in doing a good deed to help our environmental efforts while enjoying the park. The park will provide free trash bags and gloves to any visitors as they volunteer.
If you are interested in volunteering at Elk Neck State Park, or other Maryland Park Service facilities, please visit: https://ec.volunteernow.com/custom/1289/ or select the Volunteer Tab at the top of the page.
Elk Neck State Park
4395 Turkey Point Road
North East, MD 21901