Park Ranger Raymond Felton
Keep Moving on Up -- From Coastal Carolina to the Blue Ridge
You know how in school they tell you to go with the first answer that comes to mind when taking a test?
Raymond Felton followed that line of thinking and has not regretted it since as his career path has taken him from the sea to the mountains with the South Carolina State Park Service.
“In college, I began thinking that being a park ranger would be a great job. I was right,” said the 27-year-old ranger at Keowee-Toxaway State State Park.
The Greenwood County native and Coastal Carolina University graduate helps take care of a 1,000-acre slice of Blue Ridge beauty in the deep woods between Lake Keowee and S.C. 11, the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway.
After college, Felton left the coast for the Midlands, joining the State Park Service in 2005 as an assistant ranger at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia. From there he moved up to the Piedmont as a Ranger I at Kings Mountain State Park, and now he’s moved on up to the mountains and in rank, as a Ranger II at Keowee-Toxaway.
Along with camping, hiking and picnicking, the scenic, forested park boasts the brand-new Jocassee Gorges Visitors Center in an historic old church building that has been renovated into the park office, providing Felton and his co-workers the opportunity to share the beauty and history of the entire area.
“Along with orienting guests to the activities available in the Jocassee Gorges, I help track revenue, take care of the facility and grounds and work with trail maintenance,” said Felton, who along with his college education, is trained in first aid, CPR, chainsaw use and search and rescue.
“No two days are exactly alike, and how can you beat living up here in all this natural beauty,” he said. “My wife and I love it. And so do the guests who come our way.”
Since this story was written, Ranger Felton has been promoted to Senior Ranger at Dreher Island State Park.