Park Ranger Emily Nicholson

Park Service Profiles

Emily Nicholson’s love for parks began early. She grew up in Seneca, South Carolina and her family frequently camped and stayed in cabins at Oconee State Park. Based on this experience, Nicholson knew she wanted to grow up to work at a job where she could be outside, not stuck inside all day! She graduated from Southern Wesleyan University with a degree in Recreation and Leisure. Before graduating, Nicholson started an internship at South Cove County Park. That internship cemented her love of parks and inspired her to pursue a career as a park ranger. 

Nicholson’s internship at South Cove County Park grew into a ranger position, and she stayed with Oconee County Parks for three years. Nicholson made the transition to South Carolina State Parks after those three years and has been with Oconee State Park ever since! At Oconee, she can be found doing everything from helping guests make reservations, interpreting and telling the stories of the Civilian Conservation Corps history at Oconee, to fixing a power pedestal in the campground, or calling square dances on Friday nights during the summer. 

When asked what she finds most satisfying about her job, Nicholson said: “I love talking to guests who are on the hunt to become an Ultimate Outsider, to see where they are from and their stories of what parks they have visited so far. Also, things like being able to talk to a group of Girl Scouts that are at the park for the weekend and helping show them how to get a fire started. Another satisfying part is seeing the reactions and positive feedback on the variety of programs that we put on at Oconee State Park.” 
As with many park rangers, Nicholson’s love of her job really shows. We asked her if she would encourage others to become park rangers and she said: “Yes, because there is never a dull moment and you get to be a piece of the larger puzzle that helps protect and preserve the legacy of the park system.” Thank you, Ranger Nicholson, for all you do!