-They treat you just like gold," says Stan Banta, who
at 79 works for Idaho's Targhee National Forest as part of the
Older American Program. Started 25 years ago by the Department of
Labor, the program offers retirees some income while their labor
props up cash-poor parks parks, says coordinator Marsha Phillips.
To be eligible, people must be 55 or older, make less than $12,950
a year and not exceed 1,039 hours on the job during their 12-month
stint. Annually almost 5,000 individuals at national forests around
the country are selected, trained, then put to work at $4.25 per
hour, Phillips says, and at Targhee, most end up with permanent
positions. One of 17 workers there, Stan Banta says the work is
enjoyable and he notices that it "sure lifts the load off people at
the Forest Service." Anyone interested in the program should
contact a local Forest Service office.