The Mississippi State Personnel Board does not use the job title of Park Ranger in its employment database.
Instead, look under Public Safety and then Sworn Law Enforcement.
There, you learn that some Marine Resources or Reservoir Patrol officers correspond to park rangers, while others fall under the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
Consequently, Mississippi’s state park rangers carry guns and make arrests because they are sworn law enforcement agents.
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Article Table of Contents
- 1 Popular Programs
- 2 Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in Mississippi
- 3 Mississippi Park Ranger Duties
- 4 State Parks in Mississippi
- 5 Mississippi Park Ranger Salary
- 6 Summary
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
The Mississippi Game and Fish Commission, founded in 1932, oversees 23 state parks, two state wildlife areas, and eight state wildlife management areas.
Moreover, Mississippi divides its state parks into three regions: North, Central, and Southern.
The North region contains eight state parks, one state wildlife management area, a dam, and one state wildlife area.
The Central section includes eight more state parks, one state wildlife area, and two state wildlife management areas.
And finally, the Southern region holds six state parks and five state wildlife management areas.
Nevertheless, Mississippi ranks 49th in its percentage of parkland compared to the state’s total acreage.
Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in Mississippi
Mississippi requires all Law Enforcement Officer I candidates to:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Have US citizenship
- Be physically and mentally fit
- Have a good moral character with no felonies or misdemeanors
- Be honorably discharged from military service, if any
In addition, entry-level candidates must complete the State of Mississippi Law Enforcement Professional Certification before the end of the first six months on the job.
Mississippi Park Ranger Duties
In all, the state’s park rangers patrol 23.000 acres of state parkland and campgrounds.
The park rangers that serve the MDWFP face everything from removing and euthanizing unwanted alligators to protecting turtle, shorebird, and migratory bird nesting sites.
They also perform land and water rescues, check hunting and fishing licenses, manage parks and park facilities, and supervise volunteers, park employees, and inmate crews.
In addition, as public safety agents, park rangers respond to hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters and assist other state agencies during times of significant risk to public safety.
State Parks in Mississippi
George Payne Cossar State Park in Oakland, Mississippi, draws hunters and anglers from all over.
Enid Lake holds the record for the world’s largest crappie: over five pounds.
Consequently, rangers at this park spend significant time checking hunting and fishing licenses and enforcing daily catch and size limits.
A GPC park ranger will also need the ability to operate power boats and jet skis as part of their daily duties.
This park in Iuka, Mississippi, overlooks the Tennessee River.
The most popular activities include sailing, swimming, waterskiing, and fishing.
The park consists of RV, primitive, cabin, cottage, motel, and townhouse camping options, making it more challenging to patrol and maintain.
In addition, Pickwick Lake’s 47,500 freshwater acres require park rangers to spend a large portion of every day on the water.
Located south of Meridian in Quitman, Mississippi, Clarkco State Park consists of 815 wooded acres.
The combination of a tent, RV, or cabin/cottage camping options makes this park challenging to patrol.
The park’s nature trails require rangers to spend significant time on foot or operating golf carts or ATVs if someone needs a search and rescue.
In addition, Clarkco Lake has a boat launch and allows water skiing, so rangers spend at least part of their day on the water.
Once used as a hideaway by pirate Jean Lafitte, the park also served as a base of operations for Brevet Major General Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans.
Therefore, a ranger’s duties include ensuring that park visitors do not remove or damage historical items.
In addition, since the park lies along the Gulf of Mexico, rangers must check for the correct fishing license since the state issues separate ones for salt and freshwater fishing.
Mississippi Park Ranger Salary
When park rangers in Mississippi first get hired as recently-certified Mississippi Law Enforcement I, they make $31,111 per year, up to $51,041 as an MS 07, depending on their prior related job experience.
This low salary compares somewhat poorly to the national average of $40,833.
Despite the state’s low cost of living, losing $9722 per year in lifetime earnings provides a significant disincentive to a ranger’s career in Mississippi.
The financial disincentive is especially painful if you have to go into debt for your professional certificate.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
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Regional Salary in Mississippi
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* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
To become a park ranger in Mississippi, you must complete the State of Mississippi Law Enforcement Professional Certification by the end of your first six months on the job.
You will carry a gun and make arrests as a sworn law enforcement officer.
In addition, you will probably have to deal with nuisance wildlife, such as alligators, even if you do not become a game warden.
Finally, expect to deal with campers during life-threatening events such as hurricanes and floods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Mississippi have a park ranger category on the state's employment website?
You have to search under Sworn Law Enforcement instead.
Which park once helped a famous pirate hide?
Jean Lafitte hid from authorities in what is now Buccaneer State Park.
How many state parks do Mississippi law enforcement officers oversee?
Mississippi has 23 state parks, two state wildlife areas, and eight state wildlife management areas.