Maintenance Supervisor Rusty Zahler

Park Service Profiles

A Career Calling

A few years back, a class from Wade Hampton High School volunteered at the newly opened Lake Warren State Park in Hampton, SC. They helped out with various tasks, from helping cut the Yemassee Nature Trail to nailing down the boardwalk. And while every student received school credit, one received his career calling right then and there.

Rusty Zahler was that student, and he found his way back to Lake Warren in short order, working for a summer and experiencing all aspects of the park service. After serving as a full-time park technician at Lake Warren and working at Service & Supply at the PRT Central Office, Rusty accepted a post at Columbia’s Sesquicentennial State Park.

He’s been there ever since.

Rusty is the park’s Maintenance Supervisor, responsible for managing the maintenance staff as well as projects across the more than 1,400 acres that comprise Sesquicentennial. The park features a 30-acre lake, trails, picnic areas, a dog park, a dormitory, meeting facility and a ropes course. Rusty and his staff recently finished the restoration of a historic park feature called The Log House, the county’s oldest existing structure.

Ask Rusty, and he’ll tell you that his job is all about helping people experience everything the park has to offer while they create memories they’ll carry with them forever. And whether it means restoring a historic structure of making sure the trails are safe, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Rusty currently lives in Gaston, SC and enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and softball.  This story was featured in the December 2011 eParks enewsletter.