Ranger Carl Whetsel

Park Service Profiles

While many of our staff have a lifelong career in the park service, there are a few that take the scenic route. Carl Whetsel began his time with South Carolina State Parks last June as the Off Park Ranger at Lee State Park. This comes after over 30 years as a practicing chiropractor.

Carl grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and got an education in the Army’s 1st Armor Division. He then moved to attend West Virginia State College and again later, landing in Spartanburg at Sherman Chiropractic College, where he graduated in 1987. After graduating, he maintained a chiropractic practice in Bishopville until 2021, when he retired. During this time, he also served as a member of the South Carolina Army National Guard with combat tours in Iraq in 2004-2005 and Afghanistan in 2010.

Carl says he has always enjoyed the outdoors and is handy in the woods. While living in Bishopville over the last 35 years, he was a regular at Lee State Park, where he enjoyed jogging and being outdoors. Luck would happen to be on his side when a position opened. “I was fortunate that a ranger position came open at the park soon after I retired from practice,” he says.

When asked about some of the activities he performs on the job, Carl said “just about anything I can imagine and a few things I never would have imagined.” Maintenance is a large part of a ranger's regular duties, and you always must be ready for anything. “The job here will certainly keep you on your toes,” he says. Customer service is also a large part of what rangers do. Carl mentions that “we understand that people come here for a short break from their daily life and to interact with the beauty of nature. We try to facilitate that as best we can.”

We asked Carl if he had any advice for someone interested in becoming a park ranger and he said “It would be the same advice I would give anyone choosing any career, do something you love. Talk with your local park staff, volunteer, or get hired and work with the park service for several years to see if it suits you. I see it as a career where you must learn the job, strive to perfect your work, then teach and mentor as your career advances.” Carl mentioned that in this position, you play a significant role in educating the public about nature, the environment and how we interact and protect it.

Thank you for all your hard work, Carl! Think you might be interested in a job with the South Carolina State Park Service? Click here to see our current, full-time job openings!