Bryan Hughes, senior ranger at Alderman’s Ford Park in Lithia, is a Florida native who spent many of his younger years in Seffner and Brandon where he developed a love for the outdoors and for making things with his hands. He graduated from Armwood High and first worked for the county parks department while attending Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. He worked for several government departments in Hillsborough before returning to the parks full time. He met his wife, Clara Jones Hughes when she used to spend time walking through Alderman’s Ford. After traveling from one park to another and acting as senior ranger at Lithia Springs Park for two years, Hughes returned to Alderman’s Ford as senior ranger in 2012.
Q: How did you get into the business of being a park ranger?
Answer: While in high school and into my college years, I helped the staff at Alderman’s Ford to do all types of jobs around the park. That fueled my passion for working with nature.
Q: If you were telling someone about Alderman’s Ford park, how would you describe it to motivate someone to visit?
Answer: The reasons are as vast as the 1,141 acres she encompasses, from the plentiful animals and plant life to the river’s ford, a place of serenity or escape from the hustle and insanity of everyday life. Having fun is the motivation.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
Answer: There is dealing with the public and introducing them to the true Florida, being part of the effort to hold onto and maintain the natural history and beauty for generations to come and working with animals that have been hurt or misplaced, to get them back into their natural habitat.
Q: Why do you think it is important to have public parks like Alderman’s Ford?
Answer: Public parks provide everyone with a reasonably priced, relaxing and safe place to take their family and have fun. They also provide natural habitat for plants and animals, preserving the circle of life. And the parks provide a history of the area that needs to be preserved.
Q: What is your favorite outdoor destination and why?
Answer: I honestly do not have a favorite outdoor destination. As long as I am outdoors, if it be for pleasure or work, I am at peace.