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Boulder, CO

A guide to the wilderness of the West.




Derek Bartz


I am currently writing from the van in the dense, damp temperate rainforest looking back at how the last couple months unfolded to find myself here, at Olympic National Park, beginning my time as a seasonal Wilderness Information Assistant for the summer.  It is surreal.  My desire to work for the NPS began some time ago, before I even left the Midwest for Colorado in fact.  At the time, I knew I wanted a change and prior to joining AmeriCorps and heading to Boulder (what a place to stumble upon by the way) I had applied to numerous positions in National Parks all over the country.  Nothing came of it that first year, and I tried again every hiring season (Jan-Mar) on and off for the next five years.  Then, February this year I finally received a couple referrals, meaning my resume was strong enough to get me past the first round of the application process.  Up to this point, I had applied for well over 100 jobs in most all the parks west of the Mississippi without even an interview.  And to my disbelief, I happened to hear back from some of my favorites/top choices; Olympic, Glacier Bay, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Capitol Reef (all incredibly exciting prospects).  I instantly started making cold calls trying to get a hold of the hiring official for the positions I was referred to.  This lead to an interview, and eventually the vigilant efforts paid off when in March I accepted the position here in Olympic.  The PNW is a place I have wanted to come back to since completing the PCT in 2013, and the combination of the forests, mountains, and ocean will more than fill my summer with places to explore. 

By the Way

The van is near completion, a few things had to be put on hold until this Fall when I can get back in the shop and finish things off.  I have a lot of catching up to do on the blog so stay tuned.