Park Ranger Nathan Johnson

Park Service Profiles

The first summer Nathan Johnson worked at Calhoun Falls State Park, he knew he’d found the career path he was looking for. The Abbeville native was initially employed as a park technician to help him work his way through college at Lander University.

“I knew I wanted to be a park ranger from my first summer at Calhoun Falls,” said Johnson. “Every day was a new experience, which is what sparked my interest.”

Once his sight was set on working for the state park service, Johnson was dogged in his attempts to secure a more permanent position. He returned each summer during college to ask the park manager for a job. After graduating from Lander in 2011, Johnson was hired full time as an administrative assistant at Hickory Knob State Park. He worked there for two years before accepting his current position of Park Ranger II at Lake Hartwell State Park.

The park is small and requires only a three-person staff, allowing Johnson to juggle multiple responsibilities and enjoy new challenges every day. His daily duties include inputting revenue, landscaping the park, fixing broken water lines and assisting visitors. Although his day-to-day tasks are numerous, they’re no match for the occasional adventure that comes with working in the outdoors.

“I once had to remove a large snake from the shower house,” says Johnson. “The hardest part about that wasn’t capturing the snake, but trying to convince the guests that it was safe for them to go back inside and shower.”

Johnson’s success in his career so far, is due in part to his willingness to learn new skills and take advantage of each experience that comes his way.

“My philosophy is to always be willing to learn something new, because you never know when that knowledge will come in handy.”