Scott Fox, Lead Maintenance, is celebrating 40 years at Wood County parks.
Fox started his career as a summer worker in 1979 with plans to head onto tech school to become a police officer. Instead, the county decided to keep him on until November, brought him back to sell ski tickets at Powers Bluff, then hired him again in the spring. After being brought on full-time, Fox worked his way up to his current position in 1987.
“I love it,” he said of his position. “I love being outdoors.”
Today, Fox manages a crew of full-time and seasonal workers at North Wood County Park and Powers Bluff. “We maintain the park — anything from fixing a toilet to painting something or plowing snow in the winter,” he said.
This week, the crew prepped for a fully booked campground. As the seasons change, they will get buildings ready for winter, haul wood, and prep the tubing and ski hills.
With 40 years behind him, Fox said he’s seen plenty of changes but the parks are as beautiful as they ever were — and used as much as ever.
“Compared to the old days, park use is unbelievable,” he said.
Forty years ago there was just skiing, and tobogganing was going out. Now there’s tubing and a frisbee golf course. Instead of a worker checking in each camper, today it’s an online booking system.
When he started, Fox helped establish the emergency road into North Wood County Park, allowing park access whenever high water made the main entrance impassable. Before it was built, the only way back across the water during those times was to walk across the suspension bridge with your camping gear.
While the parks have gotten bigger, the people have stayed the same. “There’s a lot of good people out there,” he said. That includes the people he works with. “The people I work for, they’re super people.”
When not at the parks, Fox enjoys spending his time outdoors landscaping, 4-wheeling, hunting, teaching his three grandkids how to fish, and having family get-togethers at the cabin.
He and his wife, who’s close to her own 40 year milestone at the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill, enjoy traveling and are planning a trip to Hawaii next spring. A fourth grandchild is expected in February.
“Grandkids keep us hopping,” he said. “I love having them along.”
Though he’ll likely be retired by then, Fox looks forward to the changes in store for the parks, such as the expansion of Powers Bluff and a possible widening of the emergency road at North Wood County Park.
In the meantime, Fox doesn’t seem himself retiring quite yet and will continue to fulfill his passion for the outdoors by keeping the parks in top shape.