Ranger Carley Karpinski

Park Service Profiles

Many of our staff, like Carley Karpinski, begin their careers with the South Carolina State Park Service as interns or part-time employees before promoting into full-time positions around our state. Carley began her career as an intern in the Nature Center at Huntington Beach State Park assisting with educational programs, resource management and caring for educational animals in the Nature Center. She then got a position as an Assistant Ranger at Kings Mountain State Park and a year later promoted to a Ranger I. After two years as a Ranger I, Carley promoted to a Senior Ranger and returned to Huntington Beach, where she is currently working. 

Daily duties often change as a ranger promotes and can vary from park to park. A Ranger I typically helps with daily operations such as opening and closing facilities, counting revenue and assisting with maintenance projects. As a ranger promotes into a Ranger II or Senior Ranger position, they gain more responsibilities, such as managing facility operations and park staff. As a part of her usual responsibilities, Carley manages the ranger staff and the operations of the admissions booth and Atalaya Castle. She says "my job changes a lot depending on what time of year it is and what events or projects we have going on. This past March, I was able to assist with planning and managing our first annual Kite Festival, it was a blast!"

Ranger Carley was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up camping with family and her Girl Scout troop. She loved the outdoors and doing things to protect the natural environment. Carley even created a volunteer group when she was in college at the State University of New York- College at Geneseo with the goal of volunteering at local state parks, noting that she has always had an interest and love for state parks. "I got to meet a few park rangers while camping and thought it would be a really awesome job," she says. "But to be honest, I came into the job not having a thorough understanding of what a park ranger does. I loved the idea of being able to work outside in these gorgeous protected areas. Once I started, I realized it was a perfect job for me. I wanted a job where I could learn new things and be challenged each day, and being a park ranger is a great fit!"

Carley says that the most satisfying thing about her job is getting to learn new things. "As a park ranger, you are the one that is called to help solve any problem that comes up, so you have to be able to think on your feet and look for different solutions to problems," she says. However, unanticipated events can also make the job difficult. "One of the hard things about being a Park Ranger is that you can come into your day with a solid game plan of what you want to accomplish, and when you get to work you may be pulled in to deal with any unforeseen issues that arise. You may have a plan to replace a broken sign and then get called away to relocate an alligator! You may not get everything on your to do list done but you will never be bored! "

Some advice that Carley would offer to someone interested in becoming a park ranger is to make sure you are excited to learn and willing to get your hands dirty, "there is no better way to learn than to get involved!"

Thank you, Ranger Carley, for your hard work and dedication to the state park service. To see what a day in Ranger Carley's life is like, watch Episode 19 of our “Day in the Life” series.

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!