Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks

Volunteer Opportunities

Barn owls

Message from Park Manager, Mark Spurrier

Volunteers are a critical aspect of the daily operation of both Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks. Whether you desire to serve as a camp host, member of a trail maintenance crew, as a volunteer ranger, to help out at a special event, or as a supportive member and advocate through our Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks, there’s a role tailored to your time and talents. You might even have a skill that we didn’t know we needed until you took the initiative to share it with us! I invite you to contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Eric Creter, via the park office or through e-mail at to request a volunteer application and talk about opportunities to serve your natural resources, your neighbors and yourselves. Your contribution is priceless.

Like working closely with animals?

Fascinated by reptiles and birds of prey? Then volunteering to assist with our Scales and Tales program might be just the opportunity you were looking for! You'll assist in the care -- mostly feeding and cleaning -- of our non-releasable raptors and reptiles, and may earn the privilege of helping with health checks and programs.

Requirements include love of working with animals and comfort in working with them, calm and patient personality, willingness to get dirty and messy as part of the job, and understanding of the importance of keeping our animals healthy, clean and comfortable. Must be at least 16 years old and able to life a minimum of 20 lbs. regularly and 50 lbs. occasionally or with help. Volunteers must be willing to work outside in all weather. Wear clothes and shoes that can get dirty (closed shoes or boots only); sanitary gloves and other needed equipment will be provided. This is an ongoing opportunity. Volunteers must be willing to commit to regular days and times.

Did you always want to grow up to be a Park Ranger?

Maybe becoming a Volunteer Ranger would suit you! Fullfill your dreams and become the happy Ranger you always wanted to be! We are looking for friendly, motivated individuals who are interested in assisting staff Park Rangers with customer service, nature programs, supporting lost person searches, visitor survey projects and more! This is an ongoing opportunity with a prerequisite of 40 volunteer hours prior to consideration and interview.

Fascinated by the past, and want to share it with others?

We have several opportunities to volunteer in Historic Interpretation at Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks. At Cunningham Falls, you can choose to interpret the story of our historic iron furnace, Catoctin Furnace (c.1775-1903), for the guests of the park.

At Gambrill, you can volunteer to share the history and accomplishments of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC -- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Tree Army" -- with park visitors.

Comfort with public speaking and working with groups of people is essential. Please have a positive, cheerful attitude, good speaking voice, and passion for sharing the past with others. Experience with historical interpretation or teaching a bonus, but not required. Some knowledge of the relevant periods of history is helpful, but we will provide you with all the information you need to know. Costumed interpretation a possibility. This is an ongoing opportunity and days and times will vary.

Like to get your hands dirty?

Want to look back at the end of the day with a feeling of accomplishment? Volunteer to join one of our Trail Maintenance and Repair crews, working with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. Clear Trails after storms (or the winter off-season), build water bars, repair trails damaged by storms or usage, and otherwise help to keep our network of trails in tip-top shape.

A strong back, and the ability to work outside in all weather on potentially rugged terrain, is a must. Familiarity with hand and/or power tools, and/or some experience with trail work, is a bonus but not required. Wear weather-appropriate clothing that can get dirty/muddy, and sturdy work or hiking boots; bring water bottle, work gloves, lunch, as well as sunscreen, bug repellent and rain protection as needed. This is an occasional opportunity and days and times will vary.

Group and/or Corporate Volunteering

Is your company or civic group looking for an opportunity to give a day of service in a beautiful outdoor setting? Volunteering together is a great team building exercise and everyone will feel a sense of accomplishment. Tree plantings, amphitheatre renovations and trail projects are a few examples of what groups have done for us in the past. We always have projects waiting for the right group. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator to see what your group can do to help.

Want to help out at the park, but have limited volunteer time?

Maple syrup volunteer

Volunteering at one of our Special Events -- the Maple Syrup Festival in the spring or Spirits of the Furnace in the fall -- could be just what you're looking for. We have lots of opportunities, from sharing tales of nature and history to helping with kids' crafts, from flipping pancakes or cleaning tables in the concession area to providing information about the parks.

Should be flexible, patient and cheerful, service-oriented, and committed to helping guests have the best possible experience at the event. Wear clothing appropriate to the weather, and comfortable/sturdy shoes or boots. Be aware that you may be assigned an indoor or outdoor location, and that you may be standing throughout your shift. Check with event organizer or Volunteer Coordinator about whether food or water will be available at the event. This is an occasional opportunity and dates and times will be announced well prior to the event.

Want to support our parks on an ongoing basis?

Then please consider joining the Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks, Inc., a support group for Cunningham Falls State Park. Our members consist of local residents, representatives of the surrounding business community, campers and people like you who care about the park and want to be a part of making a difference for its future. The park needs this outside base of volunteers to maintain the high level of service the community has come to expect.

As the Friends, we strive to generate financial support necessary for supplementing the park's budget. All proceeds go directly back into the park. You can see this in improvements such as the Manor Area's Butterfly Garden, the renovated Nature Center at High Rock Scenic Area, tree plantings, new safety equipment, updated vehicles and heavy equipment. We also provide continuing support for events such as the "Maple Syrup Festival" and the "Spirits of the Furnace."

Rick Canter, President or

Eric Creter, Volunteer Coordinator
Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road
Thurmont, MD 21788