Staff Spotlight, Gary Erixton

a man in uniform gives a thumbs-up while hanging onto a large tractor

Park Ranger, Gary Erixton

Big Shoals State Park

Some say the Stephen Foster Carillon Tower was built around Gary Erixton. With more than 40 years at Big Shoals State Park and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, there isn’t much Ranger Erixton hasn’t done. Gary is a Florida native and local historian.  Growing up around Hamilton County, Gary has found a love for his local history. When Gary first started working he was hired at the Stephen Foster Memorial, not yet a state park, and he fell in love with working outdoors.

Gary has been a park ranger at Big Shoals State Park for the past 18 years. He loves his job because everything is always changing in nature. One of his favorite things is to take his camera and photograph the sunset in different locations in Big Shoals. Gary is also a master tractor operator and can drive and operate any piece of large equipment. In his downtime, he builds 1/16 scale models for interpretive programs about turpentine and logging. His models are amazingly detailed and show his passion for the subject. Gary has a finesse and loyalty that can’t be matched, and his knowledge and perseverance make him an unparalleled coworker and friend. For Gary, when there’s a will there is a way, and if the path is blocked he will plow it clear with his John Deere.  We are extremely lucky to have such a versatile ranger here at Big Shoals State Park.

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