To keep a positive mentality, people believe that when something bad happens, there is always something positive right around the corner. Pine Mountain State Park Ranger Jason Blanton is familiar with this scenario.
Blanton worked at Advance Auto Parts and was simultaneously elected as a constable for Harlan County in 2011. When he was later laid off from his job at Advance, Blanton found himself with more time to focus on discovering what he really loved doing — law enforcement.
“I guess I’d really always thought about it and wanted to try it. I really always liked law enforcement and being constable gave me a way to get my feet wet, so to speak,” said Blanton.
Blanton served as a constable for one year and was later hired to the Cumberland Police Department where he worked for three years. On July 1, 2014, Blanton was hired as a ranger at Pine Mountain State Park.
“I really enjoy being with nature and it’s a little bit different than patrolling the streets. Here, you patrol hiking trails and it’s a different way of law and helping people,” said Blanton.
Blanton is a Harlan County native and commutes to work every morning. His love of nature and helping people has given him purpose at the park.
“As a ranger, I get to interact with tourists and visitors from really, all over the world and that’s interesting. I really like to interact with them and be able to help in any way that I can, while making sure they stay safe and taken care of,” said Blanton.
As a park ranger, Blanton acts as an ambassador of the park where he has the opportunity to educate visitors about everything from tree species and bird sounds to safety in the woods.
“I feel that, as an officer of the law you have to treat everything equally. There’s nothing small or large, but that everything, every instance should be handled with care,” said Blanton.
Blanton enjoys riding motorcycles and hiking. He aims to hike one of the park’s many miles of trails every day.
“There’s amazing views here that I haven’t seen at any of our other state parks. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be a ranger and I really look forward to going to work and doing what I get to do,” said Blanton.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.