Park Manager Susan Spell
Park Service Profiles
Living Life From the Mountains to the Sea
As manager of Edisto Beach State Park, there’s never a dull moment for Susan Spell. She has nearly two decades of service with the South Carolina State Park Service and said this is by far one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs she’s ever experienced.
Born and raised in Darlington, SC, Spell earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina at Aiken. Oddly enough, she didn’t set out to become a park ranger – that came later.
I started my career at Aiken State Park, and at that time, maintenance skills were crucial to the position. As the oldest child and my dad’s right hand, I brought the necessary skills and knowledge to the job,” Spell said. “Once the shift was made from serving in a custodial capacity and geared more towards business and resource management, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Spell’s next career stop was Caesars Head as a Ranger II, then on to Hunting Island as that park’s business manager. She later was promoted to manager of Aiken State Park and went on to become assistant manager of Myrtle Beach State Park before landing at Edisto Beach State Park which she affectionately calls the “Edirosa.” “I guess I watched too much Bonanza growing up,” she said.
Whether it’s the setting or the position itself, Spell finds her job very satisfying. “I’m next to nature everyday and am fortunate to have lived from the mountains to the sea and in between. I get to stay long enough in a location to learn a little about the culture,” said Spell.
She is especially fond of Edisto Beach State Park and said she feels fortunate for the opportunity to experience such a “beautiful and unique park.” “I can watch dolphins swim through my back yard and watch the Spanish moss sway in a field of live oaks in my front yard. Who would want anything more?” said Spell.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, Edisto Beach still has historic structures as well as new facilities that Spell and her staff maintain. They include cabins, campgrounds, an environmental education center, and hiking and biking trails. Spell said she never knows from one minute to the next what her day will bring. “I am constantly amazed at the beauty that surrounds me and, therefore, reminded of the importance of what we do,” she said.