Park Ranger Mark Owen

Park Service Profiles

Ranger Mark Owens was born in Summerville, South Carolina, and fostered a love for the outdoors through the Boy Scouts. He attended Brevard College for two years and graduated from the University of South Carolina- Upstate in 2014 with a degree in Criminal Justice. While at Brevard College, Owens visited Pisgah National Forest for a ranger-led program. As Owens says, “The program was awesome and pointed me in the direction to pursue a career in the park service.”

Owens started his park service career at Santee State Park. “I was hired as a seasonal temporary employee as the summer recreator. I had a blast running about 20 programs each week including our homemade slip-n-slide and S’mores Night. I lived and worked at Santee State Park for about two months,” he says. After graduating in 2014, Owens returned to Santee as an Assistant Ranger, and was promoted to Ranger 1 at Lake Warren State Park in January 2015. 

At Lake Warren, Owens does a little of everything. From grounds maintenance and programming to holding the position of Park Safety Officer, no two days are the same for Owens. When asked what he found most satisfying about his job, Owens had a very specific, and special, answer: “The most satisfying thing about my job is educating kids about the outdoors on a field trip and seeing them return to the park for a visit with their family.” Now, who wouldn’t love that? 

Owens' favorite park he’s worked at so far is Lake Warren. He says: “I find Lake Warren the most fun. Whether it’s mowing the grass for 8 hours, leading school field trips, organizing the Little Buddies Fishing Tournament, or making popcorn for movie nights. I will almost always have a smile on my face doing so.” His funniest moment on the job? Locking up Lake Warren at night and having a bat fly right into his face! 

Ranger Mark Owens says he would absolutely encourage others to become a park ranger. “If you love working hard outside all day, working with the public, having a variety of duties to complete each day, and don’t mind getting dirty this is the job for you,” he says. Thank you, Ranger Mark Owens, for all you do for South Carolina State Parks!