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Briget Eastep

Briget Eastep

Center for Public Lands Director and Associate Professor


Ph.D. University of Utah, Natural Resource Recreation Management, 2004
M.A. Recreation, University of New Mexico, 1996
B.A. Cornell College, English and Environmental Studies, 1992


In a nutshell. I grew up between Albuquerque and Taos, New Mexico. I went to college at Cornell College in Iowa because I thought it would be the opposite of New Mexico (and it was). From there I discovered Philmont Boy Scout Ranch where I was in the Ranger Department from 1991-1993 and discovered I wanted to dedicate my professional life to the outdoors. I lead backcountry conservation trips for the Student Conservation Association and Wilderness Education Trips for the Wilderness Education Association (WEA).

I taught environmental education in the midwest, the east coast, and returned to the University of New Mexico to pursue my master’s and work at Taos Ski Valley. Once I got my master’s I worked as a marketing assistant for Outside Magazine and spent all my vacation leading trips for WEA. Realizing I was heading the wrong way in the Outdoor Industry, I applied for the University of Utah’s Ph.D. program in Parks and Tourism and spent five years learning all that I could in Salt Lake City. I spent my summers taking the NOLS Instructor’s course and continued to lead trips for SCA.

After getting my Ph.D. I spent two years at St. Cloud State in Minnesota before becoming the first Outdoor Recreation professor at Southern Utah University. From there you can read my highlights above.

My first love is skiing, followed by wilderness adventures and backpacking. Through my teens, I’ve gained a love for FIRST Robotics and Lacrosse.

How did you discover Western?

I first learned about the Center for Public Lands and the MEM program at the Colorado Plateau Biennial Conference for Science and Management a few years ago, so when a friend from Gunnison told me the Director Position was open, I learned all that I could about Western and the position and applied.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

I’ve been at Southern Utah University for 18 years. It’s been a joy to work with amazing colleagues to build the Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism degree, an experiential education requirement for all SUU students called the EDGE program, and working with public land colleagues to build the IIC. The IIC has placed thousands of students into internships throughout our region with the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Now over a 1/3 of them are public land professionals. My passion is connecting students and colleagues to public lands to become stewards and professionals.

I’m excited to bring my experience and grow opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and public land partners at Western!

What most excites you about your field?

The people, the places, and bringing those two entities together to make a difference in and for our natural world.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

My favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley is it will be an adventure to discover my favorite things.


  • Eastep, B.T. (2022) Color Country Youth Stewardship Career Pathways Program ($323,400). Funded.
  • Eastep, B.T. (2022) IIC Youth Partnership Project at Bryce Canyon National Park ($99,999), Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument ($30,000), Pipe Springs National Monument ($95,261), and Zion National Park ($81,490). Funded.
  • Pitts, J. & Eastep, B.T. (2022) Visitor Information Management at Yellowstone National Park ($28,310). Funded.
  • Eastep, B.T. (2021) National Park Foundation Service Corps Grant for Historic Preservation work at Pipe Springs National Monument and a new trail at Cedar Breaks National Monument ($30,019). Funded.
  • The Corps Network (2021). US Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Media Interns ($191,0143). Sub agreement.
  • Eastep, B.T. (2021). Cedar Breaks National Monument Youth Engagement ($310,086). Funded.
  • Eastep, B.T. (2021). Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Youth Call ($286,000). Funded.
  • Childs, D. & Eastep, B.T. (2021). Great American Outdoor Act Fishlake National Forest ($322,119).
  • Grambly, K. & Eastep, B.T. (2020) Dixie National Forest Heritage Youth Funding ($485,532).
  • Shakespeare, B. & Eastep, B.T. (2020) Dixie National Forest Ecosystems Group Youth Funding. ($176,449).
  • Eastep, B.T. (2020) National Park Foundation Service Corps Grant for an ADA Trail at Zion National Park ($14,000). Funded.
  • Eastep, B.T. (2020) National Park Service NPS GIS Internship Program ($545,000). Funded.
  • Eastep, B.T. (2020) Arizona Strip & Grand Canyon Parashant Youth Engagement ($83,907). Funded.
  • O’Brien, E., Eastep, B.T. (2023) Outdoor Recreation Leadership Curriculum (in development).

External Professional Affliations 

  • Co-Chair, Southern Utah University’s University of the Parks Collaborative; 2023 founding chair
  • Member, Utah Trails Forum, 2021-present; chair 2023
  • Member, Utah Youth Corp Collaboration, 2020-2023
  • Member, Public Land Service Corps Steering Committee, CorpsNetwork, AY 2019-2023
  • Member, Outdoor Recreation Leadership Curriculum Development Team, AY 2020-2023
  • Member, Corps Council Membership Committee, CorpsNetwork, AY 2019 – 2023
  • Chair, Great Basin National Park Foundation. Great Basin National Park 2020-present

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