Ranger Matthew Coleman
Park Service Profiles
Having a love for both people and the outdoors are at the root of every South Carolina State Park ranger. Ranger Matthew Coleman from Huntington Beach State Park is no different. As a kid growing up in Pleasant View, Tennessee, his parents always encouraged him and his siblings to spend time in the great outdoors. Ranger Matthew says growing up visiting state parks and historic sites really made him want to provide a place for people to experience nature and history. In addition to his time outdoors, he says that working in the retail and restaurant industries, as well as his degree in marine science, helped teach him valuable skills that he uses every day at the park. “My degree also prepared me for this job by giving me a lot of knowledge about the natural environment in the park. I get to answer park guest’s questions about the ocean, different animals that live in the park, and what they can do to keep our park and the animals in it healthy and safe,” Ranger Matthew said.
As a park ranger, Ranger Matthew began his career at Myrtle Beach State Park and after eight months, began working at Huntington Beach State Park where the list of tasks he handles are wide-ranging. “I do landscaping, cleaning, law enforcement, help in the gift shop, report revenue, first aid, rescue injured animals and ensure that the park is safe for our guests to enjoy. I am also in charge of many of the volunteer opportunities we offer. I am the host supervisor at our park. I find and train volunteers to come work at the park in the campground and at Atalaya Castle,” he said. At Huntington Beach State Park, visitors come from all over to enjoy the sandy beaches, marsh, birding and more, which offers a satisfying environment to visit and work. “This park has been a fun place to work. Our park is very busy throughout the summer and even often times in the winter. The most satisfying part of my job is getting to provide a place for people to come outside, experience nature and have fun. Getting to see our park guests making memories and enjoying our beautiful park makes all of the hard work we do worth it,” he said.
Many of our rangers agree that being a park ranger is rewarding in more ways than one and that every day presents a new challenge. “Some of the emergency situations we are involved in can be tough to deal with. There are times when someone is hurt or in danger and you have to stay calm and think quickly in order to help them. While these situations are hard to deal with, they are also some of the most rewarding because we are getting the chance to help someone in need,” Ranger Matthew said. A big thank you to Ranger Matthew for always working hard and his commitment to the South Carolina State Park Service.
Watch episode five of "A Day in the Life of a Park Ranger" to see a few of the tasks Ranger Matthew handles and how our rangers handle “unexpected” things.