The Utah Division of State Parks’ Leadership Team is comprised of our Division Director and two deputy directors. While their main office is based out of Salt Lake City, these individuals love outdoor recreation and spend much of their time visiting the outdoors and meeting with park managers, members of the public, and local and state officials.
Jeff Rasmussen – Director
While he was named as Division Director in June 2018, Jeff Rasmussen’s career at state parks started much earlier – as a park ranger at Antelope Island State Park in 1992! Throughout his career, Jeff was assigned to Palisade State Park as a park ranger; assistant park manager and later park manager at Yuba State Park; North Region Manager, and the Division’s deputy director.
He attended Brigham Young University where he earned a degree in geography with a minor in natural resources. Jeff’s deep love for the outdoors continues to this day. Some of his favorite activities include boating, riding OHVs, camping, and exploring Utah’s trails atop his mountain bike.
Scott Strong – Deputy Director of Business Management
Deputy Director Scott Strong has always felt a strong connection and appreciation for nature. Asking him to choose just one outdoor activity as a favorite would be extremely hard due to the wide variety of them available at state parks. Scott has hiked Frary Peak at Antelope Island State Park, rode ATVs at Wasatch Mountain State Park, floated the river from Green River State Park, and wakeboarded at Sand Hollow State Park.
Scott is also passionate about the game of golf. He has played competitively and also is heavily involved in the management and success of the four Utah State Park golf courses. He is a graduate of Weber State University with a degree in business administration and marketing.
Laurie Backus – Deputy Director of Operations
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 that time, she has spent her 20+ year career as assistant region manager, Jordanelle State Park manager, and most recently the north region manager.
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.