Tree Foundation of Kern

Park Supervisor

To manage city, county or national parks

For those with a yen for the outdoors, a distinctly social bent and a keen business and political mind, the career of park supervisor offers a varied and independent workday.

Driven by an underlying desire to benefit the public, park supervisors often work behind the scenes, letting the park's splendor speak for itself.

"You've got to understand that your role is to serve the public and meet the public's needs as opposed to running your own agenda," said Bob Addison, director of the Kern County Parks Department in Bakersfield, California.

With a background in rural forest management, Addison said the growing shift to urban forestry demands a high degree of professionalism and the ability to develop effective working relationships with a wide variety of people including political leaders and the media.

Often working under the umbrella of federal, state or local government, park supervisors must be well-versed in the laws, regulations and that often play a part in the daily workings of the park from public safety to county building codes.

While overseeing and directing the day-to-day activities of the park, supervisors are called on to meet a variety of challenges ranging from program planning to coordinating staff and resources often under tight budget restraints.

"You get competing demands for the same space, and trying to figure out how to accommodate and mitigate conflicts is quite a balancing act," Addison said. "You draw on your experiences all the time to find practical solutions. A lot of it is common sense and being able to adjust because you never know what's going to happen."

For Allen Abe, assistant director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Bakersfield, California, meetings and more meetings are part and parcel of the career of park supervisor.

"You deal with personnel matters, listen to citizens' complaints and try to find solutions," Abe said. "So that the public has available to them the use of the parks and recreation programs."

Working for the betterment of the community is a driving force for many park supervisors, like Abe, who strive to provide enhanced park facilities for a variety of users from bicyclists to softball teams.

"We create a world, an atmosphere, so people can relax," said Allen Abe, assistant director of parks and recreation for the City of Bakersfield, California. "It's becoming more and more important in today's world."

Requires: 4 year degree plus 3 years experience and a class C driver's license. Salaries start at about $60,000 and peak at about $75,000.