Park Ranger Elliott Wilkes
Park Service Profiles
This month’s Park Service Profile finds us in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, or Jones Gap and Caesars Head state parks. Here we caught up with Ranger Elliott Wilkes.
Wilkes was born in Anniston, Alabama and graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in Natural Resource Management and Parks and Recreation. He started with the South Carolina State Park Service as an intern at Caesars Head State Park. He has also worked at Croft State Park in South Carolina and Carolina Beach State Park in North Carolina.
As a ranger in the Mountain Bridge, Wilkes wears many different hats. He helps with everything from interpretation on the park and grounds maintenance to Search and Rescue and climbing as part of the tree care management team. When asked what he finds the most satisfying about his job, Wilkes said: “Resource protection and education, and helping visitors understand and appreciate the wilderness. I am also very proud to have helped start a program that teaches Leave No Trace ethics to our campers before they head out into the wilderness area.”
Wilkes considers the Mountain Bridge his favorite park to work at so far. He says “I really enjoy helping our visitors plan an experience that challenges them, whether it be a short hike to a waterfall, or a multiday 20 mile camping trip.” As for encouraging others to be a park ranger? Wilkes says he absolutely would. As long as you put the resource and customer service first, you can’t go wrong!
We asked Wilkes to sum up his job in a phrase and he borrowed a quote from a former Mountain Bridge park manager: “Never a bad day in the Mountain Bridge.” We believe you, Ranger Elliott!