Park Ranger Larry Bonds

Park Service Profiles

Larry Bonds appreciates every day in his job as a park ranger at Colleton State Park. After growing up in the upstate, Bonds began working his way up in the state park system. He started his career with state parks working in maintenance at Hickory Knob and eventually became a ranger five years later, in 2004. 

After more than ten years with the state park service, Bonds can easily say his favorite part of the job is making people happy and impacting their lives. “Seeing the smiles on everyone’s face and knowing they made memories to cherish for life at my park is my biggest joy,” he says.

Bonds says he realized he wanted to be a park ranger after meeting the senior ranger at Hickory Knob at the time, Ashley Berry, and seeing how he interacted with young park visitors. “I still remember seeing those kids’ faces when they saw Ashley in that hat and badge…poking each other over talking to the park ranger,” Bonds said.

From that moment on, he knew he wanted to be in that hat and badge- to have that impact. And now, he can proudly say he reached that goal. Having settled at Colleton State Park, Bonds enjoys the smaller park feel.

“You get to know the guests that visit on a more personal level,” he says.

But a smaller park comes with its challenges as well, with a smaller staff, Bonds has to try to catch problems quickly, as a small issue can grow into a major repair. From broken waterlines, electrical problems, and sewage issues to enforcing park rules, Bonds does a little of everything. 

Whether it’s looking after the park itself, or catering to its visitors Bonds sums up his job at Colleton as “the greatest job in the world. To see the smile on a kid’s face that has never been camping before is the best.”