City gains new parks and animal control officer

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Parking it

Jason Ericksen stands outside City Hall during a rare recent daytime moment when he wasn’t busy as the city’s new parks and animal control officer. M.P. Regan photo

Jason Ericksen took a simple approach to gaining the position as the City of Dillon’s new parks and animal control officer.

“I just saw the ad in the paper and applied,” said Ericksen, a Dillon resident for most of his life who started working for the city in late June.

“So far, it’s been going well,” said Ericksen, who in his first week on the job had to cope with a pair of dog complaints and one about an elusive raccoon.

“If you see a problem dog, just call city hall, and we’ll head out to take care of it,” suggested Ericksen, who gets police involved if a dog proves especially aggressive.

“The dogs I’ve had to deal with so far have been nice dogs.”

Most of what Ericksen deals with on the job involves keeping the city’s parks nice.

“It’s just maintaining the parks,” said Ericksen. “Mowing weeding, making sure the sprinkler systems work—just general maintenance,” explained Ericksen of a list of responsibilities that’s grown thicker with the increased amount of use the city’s parks are getting this summer.

“There’s been a ton of people in the parks,” said Ericksen, who has had to adjust to working outdoors since coming over from Beaverhead County High School, where he focused on maintaining BW Lodge.

“I’m outside all day long. I never knew I could sweat this much,” laughed Ericksen.

“I drink at least two gallons of water a day on the job, more than I’ve ever drank.”

Ericksen has to make sure that he re-hydrates the grass in the parks only on their designated alternate days, just like city property owners.

“We are following the same watering rules and regulations everyone else is,” said Ericksen of the city’s drought restrictions that took effect earlier this summer, including the one that mandates people only water their lawns on odd days in the calendar if they live at an odd-numbered address, and even days if they live at an evennumbered address.

Having grown up in Dillon, where he is now raising a family, Ericksen well knows how important well-maintained parks are to city residents—especially the kiddos.

“Our daughter is a big softball player, so we go to Vigilante Park a lot,” said Ericksen, a regular on the Vigilante playground equipment during his youth.

“It’s really important for kids to have a place to go and be safe and have fun.”