Baxter State Park, a quasi-state agency preserving and protecting a 209,644 acre wilderness in north-central Maine, seeks an excellent communicator to tell the natural and historical stories of this iconic landscape. This is a critical position in the Park’s Information and Education Department, which is responsible for natural resource monitoring, visitor information, education and outreach programming, interpretation, and archiving historical information. Through the development of printed materials, digital media, staff training, and program coordination, the position plays a key role in the Park’s efforts to foster a sense of place for interested audiences. The successful candidate must excel at communicating a narrative of complex ideas to a wide range of audiences, collaborating with staff and colleagues, and possess great passion for Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Region.
As an independent public trust, donated to the state of Maine by former Governor Percival Baxter for the benefit of the people of Maine, Baxter State Park is a distinctive and special place. The Park has its own unique governance structure, is self-funded, and boasts an incredible landscape, recognized for its sanctity and power since humans first walked Katahdin’s rugged slopes. Park staff manage this iconic topography according to Governor Baxter’s wishes as he described them in his Deeds of Trust and other writings, which together shape a complex conservation vision.
Central to the Park’s foundational principles is the directive that opportunities for recreation remain subordinate to the protection of the Park as “Forever Wild”. The Park’s interpretive philosophy focuses on integrating our unique wilderness concept into place-based education, borrowing from outdoor and environmental education curricula. Our gentle approach to education aims to foster a connection to nature and allow a sense of personal discovery, with the hope that appreciation follows and inspires a sense of kinship with the natural world. We seek to balance visitor safety information with enabling visitors to make choices within their tolerance for risk. As Governor Baxter did not mean for the Park to be a destination for passive entertainment, we offer programming with a very light hand.
Following Governor Baxter’s wishes, the Park does not advertise to increase visitation but seeks to inform and inspire those already visiting or planning their visit, and more generally, all the residents of Maine as beneficiaries of this trust. The Interpretive Specialist role is core to the Park’s efforts to reach these audiences through printed materials, digital media, program coordination and training Park staff and seasonal interns.
For those planning their visit, informational sources include the Park’s website, social media platforms, the Reservations office in Park headquarters and our on-line reservation site, our Visitor Center at Togue Pond and printed materials offered at Maine Tourism Association Welcome centers across the state. This position is responsible for content management for the Park’s digital media avenues, printed materials for outreach, and coordinating with Reservation office staff to understand and assist with the informational needs of the thousands of people who call in each year.
For those already visiting, due to the vast acreage and dispersed use, we rely heavily on passive educational materials such as signs and posters at gates, campgrounds, the Visitor Center, and other recreation sites. Campground Rangers and gate staff are important conduits for visitor contact. Programming within the Park represents a smaller, but important visitor contact opportunity, and is often performed by interns who are functionally supervised by the interpretive specialist. Alpine stewardship patrols and moose patrols, as well junior ranger programs and thoughtfully placed signage augment the Park’s effort to reach visitors as they recreate. This position is responsible for the planning, creation, development, dissemination, and coordination of these materials and programs and for leading interpretive training of Park
For those nearby the Park and other Maine residents, the interpretive specialist is responsible for the development, coordination, and delivery of passive materials and active school and community programming, particularly during the winter months.
The position is responsible, under the direction of the Park Naturalist, for
Developing written, graphic, and audio-visual interpretive materials and programs related to the cultural, natural, and historical resources of the Park targeted at audiences including Park staff, the public, visitors, volunteers, and school communities across Maine with a focus on gateway communities
Developing and providing informational resources for campgrounds, gatehouses, headquarters, and local venues
Acting as an interpretive resource and trainer for Park staff
Shaping messages aimed at the health and safety of visitors in collaboration with ranger staff
Designing and coordinating the Park’s digital media presence including the website and social media outlets
Communicating the Park history and mission to Park staff, visitors, and the people of Maine
Working collaboratively and building relationships with Park staff, community members, and colleagues in the fields of natural resources and outdoor recreation
Assisting the Park Naturalist in coordinating and implementing natural resource research and monitoring efforts
Leading the recruitment, hiring, training, and workplan development for several wilderness educators/summit stewards each season
Assess and organize Park interpretive and informational materials for relevance, effectiveness, and consistency
Develop printed materials for displays at Park headquarters, the Visitor Center, Gatehouses and campgrounds
Develop basic map products for use in general printed materials
Develop unified styling for Park printed materials
Coordinate the summit steward program and alpine visitor use monitoring
Assist Park Naturalist in organizing and preserving historical park images and archived materials
Contribute to Park management planning efforts
Coordinate Junior Ranger program for delivery by campground Rangers
Develop and coordinate Saturday children’s programming in the Park
Develop and deliver programs to educate schoolchildren on the Park, Governor Baxter, and the natural world
Act as a functional supervisor of wilderness educator and summit steward interns
Collaborate with the trails program to concentrate alpine foot traffic to trails using string fencing and other means
Participate in Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering events
The successful candidate will possess considerable knowledge of
Principles, practices, and techniques of natural and cultural interpretive program design
Scientific principles, Maine’s natural communities, wildlife, and history
Low impact backcountry practices such as Leave No Trace
And be able to
Communicate clearly and effectively orally and in writing, including science communication
Develop, plan, organize, and implement interpretive programs
Prepare, maintain, and disseminate informational material through various means, including website and social media
Maintain effective working relations with staff, visitors, volunteers, and other agencies
Manage multiple projects simultaneously and prioritize work based on Park needs
Travel in the backcountry through rugged terrain
Three (3) years of education and/or experience in communications, monitoring natural resources, and interpretive work.
Proficiency in the production of audio-visual content
Public speaking acumen
Familiarity with GIS/GPS
Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite and Abobe products
Experience as a Leave No Trace Trainer or similar training experience.
Additional Salary Information: Baxter State Park, while independently funded, does share the same benefit packages as the State employee system. For this position, that includes health (state pays $447.44 biweekly with health credit, employee contributes $23.55) and dental (state pays $14.60 biweekly, no employee deduction) as well as contributions to Maine Public Employees Retirement System at a rate of 14.11% of pay. Vacation and sick time accrue at increasing rates with seniority in the state system.
About Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is a 4-season wilderness park home not only to Katahdin, Maine’s iconic tallest point, but some of the most rugged country in the Northeast US, including 47 peaks, more than 50 lakes and ponds, and over 200 miles of non-motorized recreational trails. The Park offers over 300 sites for camping and primitive lodging in rustic private cabins, shared bunkhouses, lean-tos and tent sites.