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Career Story: Assistant County Park System Manager

Assistant County Park System Manager

Job Title: Assistant Park Manager

Type of Company: I work for a county parks department in North Carolina. At the moment, we manage six parks, with three more in the planning stages.

Education: BS, Forestry/Parks & Recreation •• MNR, Natural Resources •• Certified Environmental Educator, Certified Interpretive Guide, Certified GIS

Previous Experience: I held two summer positions with the US COE as a park technician, worked for three and a half years as a park ranger for Mecklenburg County and another eight years as a North Carolina park ranger.

Job Tasks: My key responsibilities put me in charge of all educational activities and programs at the park. This includes research, development and implementation in areas such as Natural History/Cultural History/Agro-Ecological. Other responsibilities include public relations: publicizing park programs through the news and entertainment media (TV, radio, newspapers and the like). My duties also include being the parks' website editor. I am in charge of maintaining the parks' computers and recommending software or hardware upgrades. I am also in charge of the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) workstation and any mapping updates of the park.

One of my principal duties is managing the parks' natural and cultural resources, monitoring usage of the actual properties, checking for encroachments from adjacent landowners or trespassers, monitoring public fishing and working with state and local agencies to set fishing limits or forbid fishing altogether. My cultural resource duties include cataloguing all artifacts discovered in the parks and researching their cultural history. We work with state and local agencies to protect the cultural resources found within the park's boundaries, but we partner too with non-profit organizations such as the Wake Historical Society, Raleigh Heritage Trail and Raleigh City Museum to educate the inhabitants of the region on local and regional history.

I have many other day-to-day duties, including minor building and grounds operations and maintenance.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being able to educate the park visitor on all aspects of the park's many natural and cultural resources.

The worst part of my job is having to deal with the red tape involved with government bureaucracy: having to play politics and to bend over backwards for certain people.

Job Tips:
1. You must be committed to working strange hours for low pay.

2. Get a college degree in either Natural Resources or Parks and Recreation.

3. You've got to have patience to work for the government. This also applies to working for the public. Just remember: "You can't please all of the people all of the time".

Additional Thoughts: The career I pursued requires dedication to both the field and the public. And no matter what anyone tells you, your career is just as important as any high-tech, high-paying career. In my opinion, in fact, this career is more essential. Educating the public about our dwindling natural resources is most important, especially for our children and their children.

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