Master Craftsman Tyler Blakewood

Park Service Profiles

Meet Tyler Blakewood, an invaluable member of the Historical Preservation team and Central Maintenance for South Carolina State Parks. At 33, Tyler has carved out a career that combines his passion for craftsmanship with a love for the great outdoors.

Tyler's journey with state parks began close to home. "Growing up in Hampton, I spent a lot of time fishing with my dad, having birthday parties, and enjoying the festivities of the Watermelon Festival at Lake Warren State Park. It’s the place I always wanted to spend my time growing up so I just knew I wanted a career in parks," he says.

 A move to Columbia ten years ago marked a new chapter in his life, both personally and professionally. It was here that he met his wife, Chelsea, and they now experience the joys and challenges of homeownership, along with their deaf blue heeler, Luna, and three cats, Smokey, Doug, and Freddy.

Tyler also joined the park service at Sesquicentennial State Park as a temporary employee and was later promoted to park technician. With a background rich in hands-on learning, Tyler’s education has largely been shaped by on-the-job training. With its diverse and skilled staff, the park service provided the perfect environment for Tyler to expand his knowledge and hone his craft.

Since then, he's become a jack-of-all-trades, tackling projects across an impressive 19+ parks, and counting. In his current role as Master Craftsman, Tyler’s responsibilities are as diverse as they are impactful. From constructing roads and renovating historical structures to handling plumbing, electrical work, and large-scale park projects. His work ensures that park staff can focus on providing visitors with exceptional experiences while he handles the intricate maintenance and improvement tasks.

Tyler finds construction work most satisfying, saying:

"I like the instant gratification construction jobs bring. I love leaving a job site at the end of the day and seeing progress. I enjoy problem solving and every job is a new challenge and you never know what you’re going to run into. Ultimately my favorite thing is seeing the before and after, I take pictures of all of our projects and love seeing where we started to what the final product is." 

Among the many parks Tyler has worked at, St. Phillip’s Island holds a special place. The wildlife, the adventure of packing the boat with supplies, and the camaraderie of staying there with the crew make it a standout experience. However, unpredictable weather remains a consistent challenge for projects, often requiring flexibility and adaptability in their plans.

For those considering a career similar to his, Tyler offers this advice: "Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, be willing to learn, and get ready to sweat." His enthusiasm for his work is evident, and he encourages anyone who enjoys variety, working with their hands, and being outdoors to consider this fulfilling path.

Currently working towards becoming an Ultimate Outsider, Tyler’s favorite park is ever-changing, reflecting the unique offerings of each location. However, he says there is nothing like taking a boat out on Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park. He also looks forward to getting his stamp at Charles Town Landing State Historic Site

Through his dedication, skill, and passion, Tyler exemplifies the spirit of our state parks team by contributing to the preservation and enhancement of the parks that bring joy and inspiration to countless visitors. Thank you, Tyler! 

Think you might be interested in a job with the South Carolina State Park Service? Click here to see our current job openings!

June 2024