Some of the volunteer programs from the National Park Service offer opportunities to stay in National Parks for free. Some of the programs are short-term things while others might last even years.
Some of the residency programs are available to artists and creatives. The trade deal would be that the creative gets to stay for free in the park (and probably utilize the time to work on their art), while also providing workshops and demonstrations for visitors.
Many of the other volunteer opportunities that involve taking care of the park don’t offer housing, but they are still a great thing to get involved with if you happen to be close enough to do so. (Or willing to pay your own lodging while you help out.) Contacting a park is the easiest way to find out about opportunities to get involved and the application process for doing so.
Lenny Teh, the program manager of the volunteer program at NPS spoke out about the need for volunteers.
“All parks do programming and develop products and service to enhance the visitor experience. They need people that are passionate about the subject matter and who are connected to that place and have their own stories to tell.”