Ranger Duo

by Kimberly Singer

North Dakota has 13 state parks as well as many recreational areas. Tyler Schelske, a 2014 BSC grad, would like to work at all of them. In April 2017, he checked a fifth area off his list when he became site supervisor of Sully Creek State Park, located a little more than two miles south of Medora.

“They all offer something different. If I could work at every park in the state, that would be pretty cool. I started at a big lake park (Sakakawea). I’ve gone to Cross Ranch. Now I’m at Sully Creek, which is a horse park.” He’s also helped out with the Little Missouri State Park and worked at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park for the Haunted Fort.

It’s very likely that Schelske was drawn to state parks because he grew up in one. His dad, Dan Schelske, also a BSC alum, has spent 34 years working in various roles within the state park system and for the past 14 years has been Park Manager at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, seven miles south of Mandan.

“It’s a career, but it’s also a lifestyle. I was proud that he was considering it and wanting to do it. I’veRangers enjoyed it so much my whole career. I know what it takes for a person to do the job – the commitment and long hours. Watching him growing up, he’s had several jobs, he worked hard in sports, he worked hard in school, he’s in the National Guard, which is no easy task. I can see he’s got what it takes to do it.”

Schelske earned an associate degree at BSC and then went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice on BSC’s campus through Minot State University. He said he really enjoys this branch of law enforcement. “This is probably one of the few law enforcement careers that when they see law enforcement, they’re happy to  see them.”

In fact, talking with Sully Creek State Park visitors is one of the things Schelske enjoys most about his job. And people from all over the country come to camp there. “A lot of North Dakotans, Minnesotans. A lot from California, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin. I do get quite a bit of people coming up from Florida. I would say that’s one of our top 10, too. And, I ask them why they come up here and most of them are retired and they’re just looking to see 
the country.”

In his spare time, Schelske enjoys spending time outdoors biking, fishing and hunting. That’s why this career fits him so well. “I kind of think of this as a paid hobby out here because I’m in a campground every day.”

Sully Creek State Park’s season runs from April 1-Nov. 30. During the winter months, Schelske plans to work at Cross Ranch State Park helping visitors enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Schelske plans to attend the police academy which will allow him to become a park ranger. And he’d happily continue his career in his home state. “I like North Dakota.”

For more on Sully Creek State Park, visit facebook.com/prdscsp. To learn more about BSC’s Criminal Justice program, visit  bismarckstate.edu.