February 15, 2018
Jeff Bradybaugh
A Day in the Life: National Park Ranger
The Whiting Room

Reflection | Video | Podcast | Photos

As part of The APEX Event Series, twice a season will feature a speaker who can help spotlight professions that are relevant to the SUU campus and community. This is the second of our two "A Day in the Life" events. Zion National Park superintendent and 35-year veteran of the National Park Service (NPS) Jeff Bradybaugh will talk about his adventures and walk you through a day in his unusual office. 

Event Reflection

by Billy Clouse

On February 15, Jeff Bradybaugh, the Superintendent of Zion National Park, visited campus to talk about his everyday work life.

Even before working at one of the most visited national parks in the country, Bradybaugh always had a love of the outdoors. He grew up in upstate New York and enjoyed field work in the Parks.

Bradybaugh described the function of Zion as that of a small city, with its own police force, emergency management, utilities, and administration. Although Zion is one of the more complex Parks, taking on the job wasn’t too overwhelming because he served as the Superintendent of other, smaller parks, before taking on the challenge.

Each day starts with a plan, which Bradybaugh said usually goes away pretty quickly. Between meetings about park issues and partnerships with the community and schools, there is no such thing as a typical day. Bradybaugh said that what makes the job of a Superintendent both fun and challenging is balancing the many sides of the park.

Currently, one of the biggest issues facing the park is visitor management. In 2010, the Park had about 2.7 million visitors. However, Zion now serves over 4.3 million people, while at the same time operating on a smaller budget. Bradybaugh noted that while summer remains the most popular season, the winter months are experiencing the largest increase in usage. To accommodate this, the shuttle service was opened early this year.

This increase allows more people to visit the Parks, but this also opens the door to more damage through trail overcrowding, parking violations, and other issues.

Currently, the Park suffers from around $60 million in deferred maintenance, which is partially due to a lack of funds and staffing. One way the Park staff is working to fix this is by allocating around $3 towards maintenance for each 30-day pass purchased.

Although solving these problems can be stressful, Bradybaugh said that the best part of the job is having the beauty of Zion right in his backyard.

Join us next week, February 22, for Claudia Bradshaw’s discussion, “Journey into a New World.” The founder of St. George PFLAG and LGBTQ+ ally will present at 11:30 a.m. in the Whiting Room of the Hunter Conference Center.


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