Utah State Parks Blog

Utah State Parks Names New Deputy Director of Operations

Jan. 31. 2023

Laurie Backus, Deputy Director of Operations

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of State Parks is excited to announce that Laurie Backus has accepted a new role as the Deputy Director of Operations, adding to her already impressive 23-year career. 

Laurie fills the position left open by Dave Harris, who recently retired after over 30 years of service. 

An avid outdoor enthusiast, Laurie graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in parks, recreation, and tourism. After a short stint working with the U.S. Forest Service, she was hired on as a law enforcement park ranger at Wasatch Mountain State Park. Since then, Laurie has risen through the ranks and has served as assistant region manager, Jordanelle State Park manager, and most recently the north region manager. 

Laurie Backus getting ready to ride the river

“Laurie brings a wealth of knowledge to our leadership team,” Utah State Parks Director Jeff Rasmussen said. “She has experience working at some of the busiest and most successful parks in our system. Her can-do attitude and willingness to help others succeed will benefit our parks, employees, and visitors for years to come.”  

The deputy director of operations serves on the division’s core leadership team out of the Utah State Parks headquarters in Salt Lake City. This role is vital in ensuring Utah’s state parks are managed effectively and efficiently.

Laurie Backus with one of her horses

“I’m so excited to be taking on this new adventure,” she said. “I look forward to continuing a career I love and will do my part in helping make our parks stronger than ever.” 

Laurie’s passion for the outdoors doesn’t end after her work day. She currently lives in the beautiful Heber Valley area with her family and enjoys spending her free time horseback riding, shooting outdoor photography, kayaking, and caring for her numerous animals.

Laurie Backus exploring the sand dunes
Laurie Backus at Snow Canyon State Park

If you found this blog entry interesting, please consider sharing it through your social network.