OPS Park Ranger

OPS Park Ranger

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida Forest Service

The Florida Forest Service currently is offering an OPS job opportunity at the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest. This is a full-time OPS Park Ranger position on the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest located in Frostproof, Florida.

The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest (LWRSF) is in four separate tracts on or near the ancient Lake Wales Ridge in southeastern Polk County. This 26,713-acre state forest is part of the largest undeveloped piece of land on the Lake Wales Ridge and occupies a keystone position in the network of protected sites along the Lake Wales Ridge. LWRSF is rich in the number of endemic plants and animals. Of the 19 federally listed scrub and sandhill plants, 16 occur at LWRSF. There are over 30 species of wildlife that are either state or federally listed as threatened, endangered, or given a global rank by Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI).

This position will be working closely with one to two other OPS employees to manage invasive species that alter natural communities by displacing native species on the state forest. Approximately 90% of this position’s time will be spent in the field, surveying for invasive species in new locations, monitoring invasive contractors for funded invasive projects, logging areas on a GPS, treating invasives species in the field, and maintaining previously treated infested areas. The remaining 10% of time is spent mapping the locations on the computer in ArcGIS, data entry and equipment maintenance. A small portion of time will also be spent helping with state forest projects such as collecting data for threatened and endangered plant/animal species, campground-campsites/day use areas maintenance, camping reservations, restoration projects, and occasionally helping with prescribed burning on the state forest.

Some treatment areas on the state forest require hiking to locations approximately 1 to 2 miles from the vehicle with a backpack sprayer weighing 20+ pounds while some might be located along service roads with easy access. During the year, winter/spring months are spent hiking into swamps and other wetlands for invasive control of Old World Climbing fern (OWCF). Summer months are usually in upland areas for invasive control of cogongrass, rosary pea, lantana, Brazilian pepper and other invasive species. It is an enjoyable job for anyone who likes being outside all times of the year. Some knowledge of Excel, Word, ArcGIS would be preferred. This OPS full-time position has an hourly pay of $11.37 an hour. The LWRSF OPS invasives team works a 10-hour day, four days a week Monday-Thursday. This OPS position offers state health insurance for full time employees with single or family coverages as options.


Corey Walk (863) 589-0528 or Kristin Bennett (863) 940-6710