By CAYLA intern Doni Palma-Roberto
Have you ever gone fishing or enjoyed the paddle boats and scenery at Lake Julian? Well, you can thank Park Ranger Supervisor Matt Dixon and his crew for creating a fun, inclusive, and protected park for everyone. As we wrap up National Parks and Recreation Month, learn how Matt has a direct impact on your favorite park lake.
Name: Matt Dixon
Position: Park Ranger Supervisor
Matt Dixon has worked for Buncombe County for five years and has been in his current position for a year and a half. He says he feels lucky to be working on a job that has tangible benefits where you can “see what you’re doing,” referencing the direct impact of his job. Spending the majority of his time at Lake Julian, he is able to personally offer people a fun and safe place to be.
What he enjoys about his job is the people he works with and being able to positively touch residents’ lives. He strives to make the activities and programs offered at the park accessible and inclusive to anyone and help them any way he can. For example, the pontoon boat rides were made accessible to the groups that mainly use them like the assisted living communities and group homes by making the rides easy to get into. Matt says, “We have a paved area with a ramp that leads to the front of the pontoon boat where anyone can board the boat, including those with wheelchairs and walkers.” Adding to the accessibility of outdoor activities, the pontoon rides are a no-cost activity for anyone in the community to enjoy. Thus, showing how Matt’s vision of helping low-income families, as he says they often get forgotten. Accessibility to outdoor activities doesn’t stop there. As a supervisor, he says, “We are working on expanding our outdoor education programs at the lake as well.”
Looking ahead, Matt says “the future looks great” as they have started a lot of programming, updates, and changes in their park. He describes the future as a “new life” looking forward to all they can do for Lake Julian and other parks in the County. He wants the public to recognize how much everyone works, because they all care for the parks and rec community. He says “they have pride in their work” and want to do their job the best they can. Recognizing his team at Lake Julian, he says, “Without them down here at the lake, we wouldn’t be able to offer those rides, and I’m very thankful for the group we have.” Additionally, he says, “We really enjoy offering this to the community and are very glad that we can be a way for everyone to get outside and enjoy Lake Julian safely.”