Lake James State Park welcomed Ranger Kevin Bischof to the staff in early September, 2013. Kevin joined the North Carolina Division Parks and Recreation almost seven years ago as a journey ranger at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. Prior to coming to Lake James, he also worked at Goose Creek and Gorges state parks. Kevin is a native of Cincinnati, OH, where he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in sociology. He also holds a masters degree in outdoor recreation, with a focus on education, from Indiana University. He is also the park’s resident expert on reptiles and moths, two animal groups for which he has special interest in.
When asked what part of his job he finds most rewarding, Kevin replied, “I like educating people on anything outdoors. That’s why I got into park rangering.” Indeed, one of Kevin’s main responsibilities is heading up the interpretation and education program at the park. He said the challenging aspect of being a park ranger is tempering his desire to be a true expert in any field due to the necessity of being a jack-of-all-trades. “There’s so much involved in being a well-rounded ranger,” said Kevin. “You have to be proficient in law enforcement, interpretation and education, search and rescue, first responder, wildland firefighting and more.”
As for his impression of his newest duty station, Kevin said he is enjoying getting to know the park and the surrounding community. “I like living, working and being around the lake,” he said. “It’s exciting to be a part of the park’s developing recreational opportunities.”
As for the coming spring and summer, Kevin wanted park visitors to be aware of Lake James State Park’s robust schedule of educational programs. “We’re planning on having a lot more educational opportunities at the park this year.”