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Born and raised in Buncombe County, Park Ranger Zach Hickok is living his dream working for our Recreation Services Department. July is Parks and Recreation Month, and we’re excited to highlight some of Recreation Services staff. Read Zach’s Q&A to learn more about how he sees Lake Julian as having two sides and why he loves working for Recreation Services in Buncombe County.
Name and position:
Zach Hickok - Park Ranger
How long have you worked for Buncombe County?
Almost 3 years. I started in November 2019.
What inspired you to work in the Recreation Services industry?
I have always enjoyed being outdoors from a young age. Growing up here in Western North Carolina and experiencing everything these mountains have to offer, there was no question that I wanted to work in the outdoor industry. I am thankful I ended up here at Buncombe County where I was born and raised.
What’s your favorite thing about working for Recreation Services?
My favorite thing about working for Recreation Services is a couple things. One is the relationships I've made with my coworkers. Given how small our department is, we get to know each other well and we are a hard working team. The second thing is that every day is different. You never know what to expect. One day I could be rescuing people on the lake on our patrol boat, or another day I could be doing park maintenance, answering park visitors’ questions, or even helping out at one of our other parks. It keeps things exciting!
What’s a hidden gem in the County’s recreation portfolio?
As Lake Julian is one of our most popular parks in Recreation Services, a lot of people have never been here. I like to describe it as a "Two in One" park, because it has two sides. The main side of the park off Long Shoals Road is where our Ranger office is with the paddle boat and Jon Boat rentals, playground, fishing docks, walking trail, and picnic shelters. The backside of the park is located off Hendersonville Road which has our very popular disc golf course, picnic shelter, and another fishing dock. So if you get a chance, come stop by and check out the park! I'm always happy to answer any questions people have, as well as the other Rangers down here.
For Parks and Recreation month, what would you like people to think of or be aware of?
I would like to encourage people to get outside and go on an adventure. Take a hike, go for a swim, go camping, and just remind yourself of what it means to you to live in such a beautiful place as we do. We have so many recreational opportunities to take advantage of, and what better time than summer, my favorite season!
Learn more about all of the parks and services in Buncombe County's portfolio at buncombecounty.org/parks. Find the park closest to you at discover.buncombecounty.org.