Ranger Bart Joy

Park Service Profiles

James Bartow Joy grew up in Piedmont, South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. He started with the South Carolina State Park Service in 2010 and has since worked at parks across the state. Joy is currently the Senior Ranger at Sesquicentennial State Park, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and son, Davis.

Joy got his start as an intern at Oconee State Park. There, he worked with housekeeping, maintenance, and the rangers, which he says gave him a full park experience. He has gone on to work at Edisto Beach State Park, Huntington Beach State Park, Kings Mountain State Park, Keowee-Toxaway State Park, Sesquicentennial State Park, and Goodale State Park.

We asked Joy what his job duties entail, and he provided quite the metaphor: “I liken park rangers to Swiss Army knives.  We have all types of duties that we perform on the park, and that is one of the things that makes the job great.  Some of those duties include: checking in campers, fixing electrical boxes, repairing water leaks, hiring part-time staff, completing and submitting paperwork, cleaning facilities, managing the host program, and really just fixing problems on the park.” He finds the most satisfaction in his job when he sees people enjoying his park. “I love seeing a child camping for the first time and how excited they get over some of the smallest things,” Joy says.

When asked about which park he’s worked at has been his favorite, Joy had a hard time picking a one! “I have been blessed to work at many great parks early in my career.  All of them have great people on staff. I think that is something that makes our jobs even more unique.  We work together, we live on park together, and we get to know each other’s families.  The people in the parks are what make it fun.  Oconee, for me, sticks out in that regard, though it doesn’t stand alone.  It was my first introduction to the park service, and right away I was struck by how close the staff was and how coworkers were like family.  I was sold on it that first day, and each park I’ve been to, the relationships are the biggest thing I take away.”

Joy says he would encourage other people to become park rangers as well.  He even changed his own career path after experiencing parks up close with friends in college! Joy says, “I try to encourage anyone who wants to be a park ranger to be a park ranger, because we have the best job out there.  I also tell them that you have to understand the job involves sacrifice for something that is bigger than yourself.  We are stewards for parks, something that is special to everybody, and that’s a big deal.”

Thank you, Ranger Joy, for all you do for the South Carolina State Park Service!