ATV Training


State park visitors are accustomed to seeing park rangers patrol the parks in trucks and cars, but in reality there’s no telling what you’ll see a ranger use to patrol. The job of a park ranger not only varies day-to-day, but sometimes hour-to-hour, so different vehicles are needed to complete different tasks. Depending on the job, a ranger could be riding a lawn mower in the morning, a tractor in the afternoon and a pick-up truck in the evening.

The equipment that rangers are asked about the most is the ATV. Visitors are curious about these vehicles because an ATV looks more like fun than work. The S.C. State Park Service is fortunate to have a Honda Corporation ATV manufacturing plant in Florence. Honda has donated several Honda Foreman ATVs to the park service over the past several years, making it easier for rangers to serve the public and protect the parks’ natural resources. ATVs make it possible to patrol rough trails and beaches or to do maintenance in hard to reach places.

While ATVs are fun to ride, park rangers can spend an entire shift “in the saddle” of an ATV which can make for a rough day. Rangers must be in good condition and have the ability to ride an ATV anywhere from eight to 12 hours over a variety of terrain and in harsh weather.

Rangers prepare for this type duty by participating in an operating instruction and riding course.

The course provides four hours of classroom instruction where rangers learn how the ATV can be used for customer service, resource protection, search and rescue and rider safety. There is also a five hour riding instruction course where rangers must maneuver through a variety obstacles, terrain and weather conditions.

No matter if a park ranger is patrolling a beach to look for a lost child or hauling supplies to maintain a hiking trail, the ATV is a valuable piece of equipment for the park service, that requires training and must be handled with care.