Park Ranger Kelly Howell

Park Service Profiles

Kelly Howell grew up in Hickory Grove, South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Howell says, “I guess, in the back of my head, I always wanted to be a park ranger, I just never knew it was an actual ‘job.’ My family and I would go on different vacations every summer to see national parks or even the plantations in Charleston. I loved being outside and learning the history of the parks and wildlife. It just made sense for me.” Howell further prepared for her future career with summer jobs at Kings Mountain National Military Park and Cowpens National Battlefield and an internship at Disney’s Magic Kingdom as Custodial and Guest Services. Howell started her career with the South Carolina State Park Service at Myrtle Beach State Park. She went on to work at Sesquicentennial and Cheraw state parks and you can now find her at Chester State Park!

In her role at Chester, Howell does everything from repairing electrical pedestals to leading interpretive programs. We asked her what she finds most satisfying about her job and she said, “When you find out you are the reason a family enjoyed their stay at the park. You don’t realize that that little extra time you spent talking with them about their trip, where they are from or even playing with their children can really have an impact on them.” And her favorite of the parks she’s worked at? Myrtle Beach State Park. Although she was only there a short time, the whole staff became like a second family to her. Howell says she would encourage others to become a park ranger. “If you love being outside and have a passion for preserving the past and educating the future, this job is for you.” Thank you, Ranger Howell, for all you do!