Department struggles to staff seasonal positions

Michigan is again struggling to find summer staff for its state parks.

So far, the state has hired 636 short-term workers out of 1,300 empty seasonal slots, with 123 more to be hired pending successful drug tests.

The workers in state parks roles have to wear a lot of hats, said Ron Olson, the state’s director of Parks and Recreation in the Department of Natural Resources. They work in parks, state campground and harbors, answering visitors’ questions, maintaining trails, cleaning buildings, and more.

Last summer, facing the same issue, the department was only able to hire 736 people. Olson expects a similar number this time around.

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The state parks rely on seasonal summer employees, since the staff needed in warmer months would be impossible to keep on the books as recreation options dwindle in the winter.

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