Assistant Park Manager Amanda Jenkins
Park Service Profiles
The Best Decision She's Ever Made
Growing up in Pumpkintown, South Carolina near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains gave Amanda Jenkins unprecedented access to some of the most scenic parks in the state.
“I had quite a few birthday parties as a kid at the shelters and cabins at Table Rock [State Park],” she said.
When she turned 16, Amanda, now the Assistant Park Manager at Myrtle Beach State Park, took a summer job at Table Rock working the concession stand, renting out boats and helping out at the putt-putt course. She enjoyed working at the park and with the rangers so much, she ended up working there each summer through high school and college.
Although she was fond of her summers at Table Rock and the rangers she worked with, Amanda never seriously considered making a career out of her park experience until after a few years of college.
“I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school. I tried a few different majors, but wasn’t really happy with any of them,” she said.
For years Amanda’s family jokingly told her she would end up working as a park ranger because of all the hours and hard work she put in at Table Rock. After a while, she began to take their jesting seriously. With the support and encouragement of her park coworkers, Amanda ultimately made the decision to transfer to Clemson University and pursue a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, a move she calls one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
Upon graduating from Clemson in 2004, Amanda accepted a position as an assistant park ranger at Hunting Island State Park, where she also worked as an intern before her senior year of college. From there she moved to Lake Greenwood and worked as a Ranger I, to Sesquicentennial as a Ranger II and to Santee as the Senior Ranger. In 2007, Amanda made her return to the coast as the Assistant Park Manager at Myrtle Beach.
Amanda’s current duties include supervising the ranger staff, budget and revenue tracking, project planning and general management of the park, cabins, campground and staff. She’s also a member of the Emergency Response Personnel, Ceremonial Corp, Search and Rescue team and a CPR and First Aid instructor for the park service.
Despite the heavy work load and busy schedule, the hard work put in often pays off in unexpected ways.
“A few years ago we rescued a loggerhead turtle that was transported to the sea turtle hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston,” she said. “Later on down the road, I was able to see the same turtle during a visit to the aquarium and a couple years later I was able to participate in the release of the turtle as well. What a great once in a lifetime experience!”
Amanda encourages anyone who likes working outdoors, for the public and enjoys a consistently changing work environment to look into becoming a park ranger.
“You get the opportunity to live and work in some of the most beautiful places in the state. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she says.