Mark DeLeon: Ranger Millerton Lake State Recreation Area
California State Parks Ranger Mark DeLeon
Up Close and Personal
1. What is your most unique experience working in California State Parks?
I had recently transferred to Millerton Lake State Recreation Area and it was my first winter season working at the lake. I was patrolling one foggy morning when I saw what I thought was a small toddler walking on the beach alone. I started to get upset thinking, “what parent would let their small child walk the beach alone.” I moved closer to the shoreline and to my relief it was a Bald Eagle eating a freshly caught bass. It was my first Bald Eagle encounter and I was in awe at the size of the bird.
2. What is the biggest challenge that you want the public to understand about your profession?
Rangers and Lifeguards wear many hats and we must wear them well. I can honestly say I have worn many of those hats. I have to be a mentor, a counselor, an educator, and a guardian in this profession. So, the biggest challenge is striving to do all of the above well.
3. Who or what inspired you to pursue this career?
It was my personal interest in working outdoors and with people, in addition to the support of my parents and brothers pushing me in the right direction.
I come from a hard working family who did not always have the best jobs. I told myself that if I was going to work a job, it would be for the love of the job. Everything after that falls into place.
4. Is there something in your career that you would do differently if given the chance?
No. Everything in my life has happened for a reason and as I get older I see that more clearly now. I’ve had the opportunity to work at the Malibu coast and inner city Los Angeles parks. All were wonderful experiences.
5. Any particular parks that are on your dream list of workplaces?
Someday I might enjoy working somewhere on the Central Coast. I am in no hurry though. Millerton Lake State Recreation Area is challenging, and it’s a great place to work.