Protecting, Preserving, Problem-Solving: The Many Hats of Our SC State Park Staff

Message From The Director

I often hear people say I have the best job, and they’re not wrong! Throughout my career, people have approached me curious about what it takes to be a ranger, a career I believe to be as rewarding as it is diverse. The answer is never simple because our staff does so much. As I have traveled these past months and had the pleasure of witnessing the incredible expertise and dedication of our team, I reflected on this and want to share some of my observations.

Our team members are not just rangers; they are skilled craftsmen and women. While some are hired specifically for their maintenance and construction skills, almost every uniformed employee gains hands-on experience. In my visits to parks, I have seen park staff renovating facilities, and replacing light fixtures, toilets, sinks, and electrical components at campsites. I have seen completed projects where they have laid flooring, fallen and then cleared numerous trees, and even erected walls to create new storage spaces. At one site, a park manager proudly shared her plans to replace culverts under a road, having gained confidence and skills from a similar project last year. Our staff tackles almost any project with determination and enthusiasm!

Our rangers are also trained to assist in emergencies as well as plan for them. This summer, members of our staff have carried injured visitors to safety, been first on the scene of accidents, and participated in ocean rescues. They’ve administered first aid, performed CPR, and supported distressed families, all in the course of a day they could hardly plan for. Additionally, our team has managed recovery efforts from both structural and wildfires, updated emergency action plans, secured budgets, and collaborated with engineers to master plan and complete crucial projects. The parks are safer because they are there today and because they are planning for tomorrow.

Beyond their physical and emergency response skills, our rangers apply specialized knowledge to the job daily. They compile data to inform decisions on everything from parking strategies to pricing models. I’ve seen teams share insights on daily revenue and tidal impacts, research historical deeds, collect stories from descendants, develop new exhibits, and test water samples statewide. Recent training sessions have covered service animal protocols, chainsaw operation, four-wheeler handling, defensive driving, and employee management, showcasing the breadth of their expertise.

My job is awesome, I get to travel to parks and interact with the teams there and I am continually inspired not just by the beauty of our parks but by the passion our team brings to their work. They strive to protect our natural resources, make them accessible, and ensure visitor safety. From creating engaging programs for guests of all ages to maintaining clean facilities and trails, we truly have the best job ever—and some of the best people doing it.


June 2024