Ranger Shawn Llewellyn
Park Service Profiles
Many of our staff can think of an experience or a person that had a profound effect on their decision to pursue a career in the park service. Shawn Llewellyn and his now wife, Malinda, were visiting Caesars Head State Park, where they met former Park Ranger Chris Newton. Shawn says, "Chris was showing us the best campsites and hikes in the park, and we started talking about him having one of the coolest jobs around... It's that first impression that makes all the difference."
Shawn was hired on in 2005 as the Trail Crew Boss at Paris Mountain State Park through an RTP grant. Here, he learned a lot about trails but also how parks operate. After the grant ended, he was hired on as an Assistant Ranger at Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where, ironically, he found himself working with Ranger Chris. He was then hired on full-time as a Maintenance Technician and later on promoted to Ranger I at Paris Mountain.
Now in his 17th year with South Carolina State Parks, Ranger Shawn handles a lot of the day-to-day operations of the park. This includes processing daily revenue, park programs like Music in the Woods, volunteer programs including Eagle Scout projects and the Park Host program, camper check in and various maintenance projects throughout the park.
When asked about his favorite thing about being a park ranger, Shawn had this to say:
Whether it be at the welcome station, park center, on the trail, or in the campground, the best part of my job is engaging with park visitors. The reason I like this the most is because of the first impression that I experienced when I first came to a SC State Park. I enjoy talking with visitors and educating them about Paris Mountain’s history, and also learning about them and what brought them here.
Park rangers have loads of funny stories, Shawn shared this one with us:
I was working at the office one afternoon in the wintertime. I received a report that there was a young male stuck in a chimney on Fire Tower Trail. I thought it was a prank call at first, but after arriving to the site there was a young man stuck in the chimney! He was hiking with some of his friends who were all joking and laughing. They bet him that he couldn’t be like Santa Claus and go into the chimney from the top and come out the bottom. Luckily, the fire department came out, and he was removed from the chimney with no injuries. Unfortunately, he lost the bet, only Santa can accomplish going down a chimney!
One of the hardest things about working for the park service is seeing your coworkers moving on to another park or even retiring. "The staff you work with is so tight-nit and they are kind of like a family in a sense. It’s hard to see them go!" he says.
For someone interested in being a park ranger, Shawn says to "get involved with a park, whether it be volunteering, a part-time job in the welcome station, park programs or maintenance. Having hands-on experience gives you a true feeling for what the job is like."
Thank you, Ranger Shawn, for your hard work and dedication to the state park service! To get a sneak peek of what a day in Ranger Shawn's life is like at Paris Mountain, watch Episode 23 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!