Park Ranger David Baker
Park Service Profiles
An Affinity for the Outdoors
Like many other South Carolina State Park Service employees, David Baker, the Park Ranger II at Lake Hartwell State Park, found his way to his current job because of his affinity for the outdoors.
“With hiking, being outdoors and loving nature what better fit than a park ranger?” he said.
David’s family moved to West Columbia, South Carolina from Erie, Pennsylvania when he was three years old. After graduating from Airport High School, David attended the University of South Carolina at Aiken where he received a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. Upon receiving his degree, David worked in county recreation and quickly realized an indoors job didn’t suit his style.
“I looked into a job that would allow me to do what I loved to do on the weekends.”
In 2007 he landed a job as a Ranger I at Lake Warren State Park in Hampton, South Carolina where he began his career with the state park service. Most recently David got the position of Ranger II at Lake Hartwell where he assists with park operations, maintenance, helping visitors and taking reservations.
Most notably, David serves as a bike mounted ranger and is a member of the search and rescue team and Emergency Response Personnel (ERP). ERP is a special division within the state park service that supports the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Despite the never-ending work load and wide scope of responsibilities, David doesn’t seem too stressed when talking about his job.
“I really can’t think of anything that stands out as the hardest [part of my job]…I don’t feel like it’s a job. I absolutely love being a park ranger.”
Even in circumstances others might find stressful, David is able to laugh it off. Once while leading a children’s program at Lake Warren in which he was supposed to teach children the basics of fishing, he ended up casting his line into some branches in the water and tangling up his fishing line.
“That’s the funniest thing I’ve had happen.”
The aspects of his position he’s most satisfied with are being able to be part of the history of South Carolina State Parks and with helping the visitors make new experiences and memories with their friends and family.