Sierra Frisbie Is On A Mission
September 14th, 2021
September 14th, 2021
BY JULIA WALKER THOMAS
Just before graduating from Bowdoin College in 2015 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science and a minor in Education, Vermont native Sierra Frisbie knew she wanted to pursue work in the environmental field. But she wasn’t sure where to begin.
As luck would have it, Frisbie saw a posting on the school’s job board for seasonal positions with Friends of Acadia. She applied and was hired as a Cadillac Summit Steward in the program’s pilot year.
After a season spent on the summit of Cadillac Mountain answering visitor questions, conducting trail maintenance, repairing cairns, recording visitation patterns, and assisting park rangers, Frisbie decided she wanted to pursue a career with the National Park Service.
“For me, it clicked when I got to experience the challenge of public land management and stewarding these incredible cultural and natural resources, as well as promoting recreation and enjoyment of these places,” Frisbie recalls. “I enjoyed the intersection of these things and that’s what inspired me to pursue a career in the park service.” The following spring, Frisbie joined Yosemite National Park as a seasonal ranger. She worked three summers as an interpretive ranger and a winter as a backcountry ranger patrolling on horseback. She has also worked on a Nature Conservancy partner ranch helping manage a conservation bison herd and spent a season as a ranger at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Frisbie believes her career came full circle when she returned to Acadia National Park this year—exactly five years after working for Friends of Acadia as a Summit Steward. She’s currently a seasonal supervisor for Acadia’s Visitor Experience and Education division, where she provides guidance, training, and scheduling for seasonal interpretive rangers.
Working in Acadia again during the Cadillac Vehicle Reservation System’s inaugural year makes Frisbie proud of the work that she and her teammates did as Summit Stewards— taking data points, recording visitation observations, and creating a report for the park that ultimately helped inform the Transportation Plan and new vehicle reservation system.
“To come back during the first year of the reservation system and see some of the changes being implemented was a really cool experience,” Frisbie said. “You don’t often get to see results based on your work because change typically moves slowly. When I saw recommendations that our team had proposed being implemented, I felt like I had made a positive impact.”
Pursuing a permanent career with the National Park Service is Frisbie’s ultimate goal, but she’s also open to working in the private sector for a nonprofit that supports a park. “Of course, I would love to return to Acadia in a permanent position. You get to work and play in an incredible national park, but you also get to be a part of an island community, and that’s pretty special and something I definitely appreciate.”
JULIA WALKER THOMAS is Friends of Acadia’s Digital Media Manager