Park Ranger Nathaniel Jones
Park Service Profiles
Meet Nathaniel Jones! Before becoming a park ranger, Nathaniel was in the United States Navy. While in the Navy, Nathaniel worked as an Engineman in the engineering division and later as an Interior Communication Electrician in the combat systems division. While on duty, he traveled to many countries, including those in the Middle East, the Caribbean, Italy, Greece, Malta, Spain and Cuba. He estimates that he has sailed over 80,000 nautical miles!
After being in the Navy, the VA helped Nathaniel pay for college. While a student, he visited H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area, as well as a few other parks, where he talked to park rangers who inspired him to also become a park ranger. Nathaniel graduated from Central Carolina Technical College in 2014 with an Associate Degree in Natural Resource Management.
Nathaniel worked at Poinsett State Park and Santee State Park as assistant ranger for 13 months before getting a full-time position at Myrtle Beach State Park. He then promoted to Park Ranger II working with Sesquicentennial State Park and Goodale State Park and has recently transferred to Lee State Park and Woods Bay State Park. This fall, Nathaniel will celebrate seven years with the South Carolina State Park Service.
As a park ranger, work is preformed in a variety of areas. Some park rangers serve as the safety officer or the host program coordinator for their park. We asked Nathaniel what activities he preforms on the job, and he said he helps maintain the dog park, patrol the trails, campground and day use area. He also helps enforce policies and keep visitors, guests, natural resources and wildlife safe. He says “While I do spend a good amount of time outside I also work on retail, making reservations, help staff the welcome station and work with the hosts from time to time. I clean facilities, buy supplies for the park as well as pay some of the park bills. Being a ranger, we wear many many hats throughout the day.”
Park rangers love the outdoors and working with people. We asked Nathaniel about a difficult situation he had to deal with and he said that it was difficult working the Fourth of July at Myrtle Beach State Park. There was a line of cars down the highway, and he had to talk to each family waiting and let them know the park was at capacity and would need to close. This, unfortunately, is a situation we have at many of our parks.
Nathaniel would encourage others to become a park ranger, and says that the secret to happiness is doing what you love and the secret to success is loving what you do.
Thank you, Nathaniel, for all of your hard work and dedication!
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