Park Ranger Michael Reid
Park Service Profiles
Michael Reid comes to us this month from his position as Park Ranger at Aiken State Park. Reid began his career in the park service at Sesquicentennial State Park in 2012 as an assistant ranger and moved to Aiken in 2014. Prior to joining the park service, Reid received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Newberry College. Reid is married to his wife, Kaitlin.
When asked when he knew he wanted to be a park ranger, Reid responded: “I’ve always loved being outdoors. Whether playing or working, as long as I was outside I was happy. After obtaining a biology degree, I wanted to work in that field. I heard about an open assistant ranger position and figured I would give it a shot. After a few days, I knew it was the career for me.” Previous jobs and experiences helped him get his footing as a ranger, but Reid says on the job training from other staff members and even volunteers taught him a lot along the way.
As a ranger at Aiken State Park, Reid is responsible for quite a variety of tasks. Everything from camping reservations to performing equipment maintenance falls under Reid’s care. The most rewarding part of his job, according to Reid, is seeing younger visitors enjoy their experience at his park. Reid says: “Nowadays, most kids spend all their time inside in front of a screen. I want to show them what nature has to offer and teach them fun activities they can do outdoors. With a little influence, they may become the future of the State Park Service.” And his funniest experience as a park ranger? An overly friendly squirrel! “I had just told some park guests to leave the squirrel alone when it jumped onto my foot, crawled up my leg, and jumped onto my shoulder. If you asked those guests about their funniest park experience, it would probably be the look on my face in that moment,” Reid says.
Reid says he has enjoyed his experiences at both parks he has worked at, but Aiken has been the most fun so far. The smaller size, and therefore wide range of duties, has allowed him to hone skills in almost every field. He also enjoys getting to meet the people who come from all over the country to canoe the Edisto River. And we sure are glad they get to meet this ranger!
When we asked Reid to sum up his job in a phrase, he quoted Walt Whitman: “’Now I see the secret of making the best person; it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth,’” and said “Being part of nature can bring out the best in people. I feel that my job makes me a better person and gives me the opportunity to show people what nature can do for them.” Thank you, Ranger Michael, for all you do for the South Carolina State Park Service!