Park Ranger Brad Rodriguez
Park Service Profiles
Brad Rodriguez grew up in Aiken, South Carolina. He often camped at Hamilton Branch State Park on the weekends with his family and it was there he discovered he wanted to be a park ranger. Rangers were quick to share fishing tips with young Rodriguez and it made quite the impression! Rodriguez went on to earn a degree in Outdoor Leadership from Young Harris College and joined the South Carolina State Park Service shortly thereafter.
Rodriguez started his park ranger career at Santee State Park and then moved to Lake Warren State Park, where he currently works as a Ranger I. As a park ranger, especially at a park the size of Lake Warren, rangers are required to be a jack-of-all-trades! Rodriguez does everything from maintenance to administrative work, but his favorite thing to do is lead interpretive hikes. When asked what he finds most satisfying about his job, Rodriguez said: “Connecting people to nature and fostering a sense of childlike wonder to all who enter the gate. I love educating people on the history of our parks and everything that dwells inside.”
Another interesting aspect of being a park ranger many people don’t realize is quite a few State Park Service employees live on their park! Rodriguez says: “Living on the park is a major reward as I am fully immersed in the life cycle of the park. It is funny after living on the park, animals seem to get used to your presence allowing you to get a closer look. Now, if only I could figure out how to get them to do that when leading an interpretive hike!” There is such a thing as too close, however, as we found out when Rodriguez was asked to share his funniest story. “One time I had a squirrel run up my leg and onto my back and as I was jumping around, stripping my jacket and trying to get it off me, I looked up to see several visitors laughing so hard they were crying,” he said.
When asked if he would encourage others to become a park ranger, Rodriguez said: “Of course! Whether you realize it or not, you are making memories not only for yourself but also for everyone who enters your park. I have been given the privilege of truly impacting and influencing the way people view nature.” Thank you, Ranger Rodriguez, for all you do!