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State Park Jobs and Career Opportunities - South Carolina

Interview with a Park Ranger

By

Name: David Baker

Current Position: Park Ranger 1

How long have you been with South Carolina State Parks and in what capacity?
I started with the South Carolina State Park Service in May of 2007 as a Ranger 1 at Lake Warren State Park.

How did you become involved in working as a Park Ranger?
I have always had a love for the outdoors. Every time I have gone camping at a state park, I’ve always enjoyed speaking with the park rangers. I wanted to know more about what they did to help protect, preserve and educate the general public about the natural resources in South Carolina. I did research on what being a park ranger would entail. The job sounded interesting and I felt SCPRT would have many opportunities in store.

Describe a typical day at your job.
(If there is no such thing as a typical day, then please tell us about your primary responsibilities and duties.)
A typical day at Lake Warren State Park begins by patrolling the park, helping and talking with guests and also a check of park (trash, boats, trails, restrooms, etc.). After that is finished, we begin our projects that are planned for that day. During the day I assist guests with reservations, boat rentals, as well as give them information on the park (fishing, Lake George Warren, local information, etc.). At the end of the day I patrol the park, do a check of all the facilities, and then lock the gate.

My job duty is to assist with the overall operation and maintenance of Lake Warren State Park. I perform diversified duties as given to me. I also assume the responsibility of the Park Manager in their absence.

How many hours a week do you work in this position?
The position requires 40 hours a week, however, I live on the park premises. I sometimes have to offer some assistance when necessary.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy being outside and seeing the different types of wildlife we have. I also enjoy helping and speaking with the guests at our park.

What do you find to be the greatest challenges of your job?
Developing new programs that will bring new guests to our park.

What kind of training/schooling is required in your position?
A two-year degree in Park Management and one year experience, or a four-year degree.

Is there any kind of training or general experience that you wish you had before taking your job?
Forestry or arborists training.

What are a few of the projects that you've been working on recently that have been the most interesting?
Developing a program that is modeled after "The Amazing Race," but done on a smaller level at the park in one day.

If someone were interested in working as a Park Ranger, what advice could you give them?
Get a four-year degree in Parks and Recreation or a four-year degree in Biology with some business classes.

Please share any further thoughts you may have about working in the state park system:
I really enjoy working for the South Carolina State Park Service. This job is helping me to meet my career and personal goals. Being part of this organization is like being a part of giant family. Everyone works together to achieve one main goal which is: To encourage people to discover South Carolina’s state parks by providing resource-based recreational and educational opportunities that emphasize the conservation, protection and interpretation of the state’s natural and cultural resources.

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