My name is Christina Barton and I am a 2017 Paul Smith’s College graduate. I graduated from PSC with a degree in Parks and Conservation Management. Following graduation, I returned home and to my seasonal job as the campground manager at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire. Upon arrival I was asked to step in as the interim park manager, an amazing opportunity that launched my career.
I came to Paul Smith’s College with the goal of working outdoors, however I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted my career to go in. Looking back at the road that led me to where I am now, I see how a series of chance choices have completely changed my life. My choice to attend Paul Smith’s started it all. I started out as a Forest Biology major, but during a field trip to John Dillion Park, I fell in love with parks. My professor spoke so passionately about his job, how everyday he was creating lasting memories in peoples’ recreational experiences. That is what I wanted to do—I wanted to run a facility that stuck in peoples’ minds and had them returning for years.
PSC prepared me to tackle my career. My courses took me into the field and gave me the necessary skills to thrive in the work place. I learned to make picnic tables and make trail signs, skills I use on a daily basis. Professor Cathy Fuller’s Parks classes showed me facility priorities and what visitors want. I refer back to what she taught me when dealing with daily park operations. When I was stuck between taking a chance and switching parks, Cathy was a guiding light. She showed me that taking a risk was worth it. That I should never let fear keep me from running toward my goals.
I made the correct decision and went to Bear Brook State Park. It was a choice that placed me in the right place, at the right time. Less than a year after being Bear Brook’s interim park manager, out of several experienced applicants, I was selected as Bear Brook’s new park manager. This is my dream job and I am so blessed to be at one of the most unique parks in the state. This is a full-time job with housing, the park is now my back yard. At 24, I am the youngest park manager and manage the largest developed state park in the state of New Hampshire. I get to care for nearly 10,000 acres of forest and recreational land. Every day I wake up excited to go to work. I have an amazing group of almost 30 employees who love the park and work hard beside me.
A part of my job is to supervise daily park operations and make improvements and changes I want to see happen in my park. I work closely with New Hampshire Fish and Game, forest rangers and other state departments to maintain and improve Bear Brook State Park. Every day in this park there is something new to do and accomplish, whether it be using the chain saw to remove down trees or reviewing special use permits.
I am working my dream job and I wouldn’t be here without my experiences from Paul Smith’s College. I want to give back like how my professors did for me. If you have any questions about New Hampshire State Parks, what being a park manager entails, or employment opportunities, please send me an email or call. Work hard and take chances, thank you for reading my story!
By Christina Barton
Bear Brook State Park
State of New Hampshire Parks and Recreation
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