Over this morning to the Park Office for an interview with Park Manager, Shea Joyner. This is a busy time of the year for all Park personnel. Especially managers. So I was grateful to find Mr. Joyner willing to devote an hour to this interview.
We began, as usual, with some personal details. Shea is from Bishopville. Raised on a farm. A great background for State Park service. Then on to Penn State for his undergraduate degree in parks, recreation, and tourism. Click the icon to listen.
We then discussed how Mr. Joyner decided to become a park ranger, and how he joined South Carolina’s Park Service. Shea gives much of the credit to Lee State Park’s long-serving manager, Mike Mathis, who became for him the best sort of mentor.
Mr. Joyner returned to Lee State Park to do the internship that Penn State’s program required. Helping to prepare the Park for Governor Hodges’ visit to kick off the “Discover Carolina” program. And went from there for nine months to Hunting Island State Park as an assistant ranger. After longer stints at Lake Greenwood State Park and Huntington Beach State Park, Shea came to Kings Mountain as assistant park manager. He’s been here ever since, with the exception of a four-month break at Croft State Natural Area.
I then asked Shea the dreaded question: describe his Park in a sentence or two. You can imagine how difficult that would be. And he certainly took more than a couple of sentences. But we have a good description of the Park.
Serving as a park ranger is more of a calling than a job. A “life style,” as so many of them describe it. They not only manage their parks. They live on them. The parks become their “back yard,” as Shea put it. So, it’s not easy to describe one’s back yard in a sentence or two. Especially when it’s this spectacular.
Shea described the origins of the Park Office. The Dickey – Sherer home. Moved from York County to the Park in 1988. Click here for more information on the house and its original site near Sharon, York County, South Carolina, from the Historical Marker database. This database is a valuable historical resource.
Here’s a quick photo of the corner of Shea’s office in the Dickey – Sherer Home Park Office. Just look at those 18th century heart pine beams! I began to develop a serious case of “office envy” while looking at them.
In the last post I briefly described Kings Mountain’s Living History Farm. Here, Shea gives us a more comprehensive description of this important resource. Kings Mountain is the only South Carolina State Park to host such a facility. It must be a lot of work to maintain. But what a teaching tool!
Another unique feature of Kings Mountain State Park is that it shares borders with Crowders Mountain State Park in North Carolina and with the Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. [We’ll visit the National Military Park in a subsequent post.] Shea and his staff have developed close working relationships with both adjacent parks. Including development of the Ridgeline Hiking Trail that goes through all three! Click here for a North Carolina Parks System press release on the trail.
Mr. Joyner then described Kings Mountain State Park’s clientele. The folks who visit and enjoy the park. And what they do while they’re here. I was surprised to learn that so many of the Park’s visitors are from North Carolina! I’d encourage more South Carolinians to visit this remarkable natural resource, to right the balance!
We closed with a description of the Park’s main water features: Lake Crawford and Lake York. Come to find out, private kayaks are allowed in addition to the Park’s rental boats on Lake York. Wish I’d brought my kayak! Both lakes looked like ideal paddling destinations.
Thanks again to Park Manager Shea Joyner for his contribution of time and expertise to the CarolinaConsidered Project.