APEX: A Day in the Life of Jeff Bradybaugh

Jeff Bradybaugh, superintendent of Zion National Park, presented at Southern Utah University’s APEX series on Thursday, Feb. 15.

The APEX Event Series features a speaker each semester to spotlight professions that are relevant to the SUU campus and community. This “A Day in the Life” event continued the APEX tradition to “Ask, Ponder and Educate” as Bradybaugh explained his daily duties and struggles in Zion National Park.

As a 35-year veteran of the National Park Service (NPS), Bradybaugh has previously worked as superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona as well as acting superintendent in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California. Bradybaugh has also worked as several different chief officers in other national parks around the nation.

Bradybaugh first worked at Zion National Park as the chief of resource management and research but was later appointed as the park’s superintendent in October of 2014. In addition to overseeing daily park operations, he is also deeply engaged in transportation-related planning and park partnership projects.

Bradybaugh explained that every park has their own issues which need to be managed differently. The biggest issue he deals with at Zion is visitor use management. Between 2014 to 2015, the park grew in over one million visitors.

“We want visitors to have exemplary national parks experiences, but natural and cultural resources must be protected,” Bradybaugh said. “We often have crowded conditions and it’s harder to make [those positive experiences] happen.”

In his presentation, Bradybaugh showed graphs to illustrate the incline in park attendance, littering and the shuttle necessities. He explained where the park entrance fees are distributed: 20 percent is sent to the NPS while the other 80 percent is divided within Zion National Park to cover maintenance, the shuttle system and employment.

“We need you,” Bradybaugh said to the students in the audience. “We need you educated and we need your enthusiasm … Not just for the NPS, but for future leaders of the world.”

APEX events are hosted every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Most events are located in the Whiting Room on the second floor of the Hunter Conference Center, but are subject to change. Seats are available on a first come first serve basis. For more information, visit the SUU APEX webpage.

Story By
Ansleigh Mikeslell

Photo Courtesy Of
Rodrigo Soares on Unsplash