Park Manager Zach Setzer

Park Service Profiles

Meet Zach Setzer, the Park Manager at Chester State Park! Zach grew up in Denver, North Carolina and spent his summers with family in Clemson, South Carolina. While attending Clemson University for History, Zach interned with the Student Conservation Association and the National Park Service. He was placed at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC where he answered questions at the flight line and provided Junior Ranger programs. When he returned to Clemson, he decided to also minor in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. 

Zach began his career with the South Carolina State Park Service as an Assistant Ranger at Hunting Island State Park in 2014. From there he promoted to Off-Park Ranger then Ranger I at Dreher Island State Park. In 2018, he returned to Hunting Island as Senior Ranger. That same year, Zach promoted to Assistant Manager at Devils Fork State Park until 2021, when he became the Park Manager at Chester.

Some of the activities Zach performs on the job include planning, implementing and oversight: "Most of my job is the upkeep of the park and planning and implementing projects that improve the visitor experience. As the Park Manger, I also keep up with the needs of my employees and plan things that will set them up for a successful career with SCPRT."

We asked Zach what one of the most satisfying things about being a park manager and he had this to say:

The most satisfying part of my job is to see young rangers be promoted and become leaders in our park service. I also really enjoy meeting new people and listening to their stories. We are fortunate to have amazing tourism destinations here in South Carolina. You can literally meet people from all over the world. It’s also a great feeling when people travel to our parks and really enjoy their experience. 

Speaking of experiences... Zach says he would encourage others to become a park ranger because every day is a different experience. "You’ll hear the term 'we wear a lot of hats' a lot from a Park Ranger and it’s true! We have to answer a lot of questions about different things and we have to be able to fix or come up with a solution to fix things. I also get to tell people my office is outside while I point to the beautiful scenery." For someone interested in becoming a park ranger, Zach suggests visiting a park that you may be interested in and see if they have an available part-time position --or even volunteering some of your time at a park. He says it's also important to have a positive attitude, and don’t be afraid to take chances.

As a Park Ranger, we want everyone to have a safe and fun experience. Zach says one of the hardest things to deal with is when a guest’s experiences or decisions become dangerous. "It’s never a good day when a park visitor is injured," he says. If he had to sum up his job in a phrase it would be "We protect the people from the park and the park from the people."

Zach isn't quite an Ultimate Outsider yet, but is looking forward to paddling the Edisto River from Colleton to Givhans Ferry

Thank you Zach, for your hard work and dedication to the state park service! Join Zach for a day at Chester in Episode 26 of our “Day in the Life” series.

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