When I began my career as a park ranger at Riverside State Park, Jack Hartt would often tell me how lucky he was to the park manager. He convinced me Riverside was the best park in Washington State. I believed him. I followed his lead and proclaimed there was not a better park in the state.
Then, Jack became the manager of Deception Pass State Park. He began preaching that Deception Pass was the best park in the state. I almost felt insulted. Riverside was the best park, clearly. And Jack Hartt could no longer be trusted, I thought.
Now, after talking to Phil Gaines, I understand what happened. Phil Gaines is the Director of South Carolina State Parks. Phil believes your park is the most important park.
Phil explains how you become connected to your park by living and working, surrounded by the beauty. You become passionate about what is around you and believe your park is indeed the most important park.
Phil may serve as a Director, but his heart is still in the field. He visits each State Park in South Carolina every year and connects with the staff and visitors.
Phil also discusses the State Parks Leadership School, a cooperative effort of America’s State Parks to develop the next generation of leaders.