Now that we may be nearly done with snowy weather, it’s time to head outdoors to the many city parks across North Dakota.

Unfortunately, staffing concerns mean that things may not go as expected.

Recruitment at city parks has been lower than average over the past years, and 2022 is no exception — at least in some regards.

“In some areas, we’re doing really good,” explained Mike Wald, facilities and programs director of Bismarck Parks and Recreation, “and in others, we’re struggling a little bit, and we still need some help.”

To many, now is a great time to hit the water — and that means lakes and city pools are always popular destinations. With so many people flocking to them, lifeguards are a necessity and according to Bismarck Parks and Rec, there are not enough of them to go around. The same is true for maintenance and groundskeeping services, where training and other pre-requisites make it difficult to hunt down the perfect candidates.

Bismarck isn’t the only place that’s experiencing hiring troubles, though; Dickinson Parks and Recreation, while reporting good hiring rates overall, is also suffering from a lack of qualified candidates for many roles.

“With the more specialized positions like seasonal ones we have in our park maintenance and golf course maintenance staff. Softball officials are really hard to come by, and lifeguards I know are a challenge for all park districts,” said Matt Mack, director of recreation and facilities at Dickinson Parks and Rec.

Without enough workers to meet their needs, things may take a slight turn in how the park divisions will open their sites and programs.

There’s no intention of closing anything at the moment, but some sacrifices may need to be made to ensure everything is running smoothly.

“Once we get to the point where we realize where we’re at,” said Wald, “then we might have to take a look at reduced hours, or something else. We don’t know at this point.”

For those interested in helping out, Parks and Rec divisions in many cities are actively looking for people who can help this summer.