July is Parks and Recreation Month! We’re also celebrating our 90th birthday this July. While we can’t celebrate with you in person right now, we’re commemorating these occasions in a different way: Meet the faces behind Great Parks of Hamilton County. Learn more about the people who are passionate about bringing you the best experience every time you visit your favorite Great Park.
Meet Brad Salyers, Regional Director of Conservation & Parks, West Region
How long have you worked for Great Parks of Hamilton County?
What first interested you in working in parks and recreation?
As a kid, I was an avid park user, mostly at Winton Woods. It was my first connection to natural spaces. Providing public spaces that are available for everyone to enjoy is a great vocation. I can’t think of a better way to spend my career than implementing the Great Parks’ mission!
What is a typical day at work like for you?
These days, you can find me in the West Region parks like Miami Whitewater Forest and Shawnee Lookout. My day might begin on the Ohio River and end on the Whitewater River. I could be discussing playground safety at Winton Woods at 9 a.m. and be on the Oakleaf Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest talking about beaver dams at 2 p.m. The variety of tasks and locations are driven by seasonal priorities, unplanned natural events and many unique user activities. There are definitely office hours, too.
How does your work directly impact park guests?
I find a lot of pride as a public servant, and I have a lot of respect for everyone who fulfills those roles. They’ve always been there, but lately they’ve been called “essential workers.” That statement couldn’t be any more accurate. The work we do at Great Parks impacts all of our county residents at all times. The many benefits of parks are numerous, ranging from cleaner air and water to health and wellness.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Everyone has something to teach, and there is always something to learn.
Who do you spend the most time with outside of work?
My wife and three daughters, Sophia, Nadia, Ingrid and Genevieve.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Hiking, running, biking, reading and talking to stuffed animals.
Do you have a favorite spot in Great Parks?
There are so many special places that are morphing from week to week, even day to day. The ephemeral wildflower show on the Trout Lily Trail at Withrow Nature Preserve demands repeat visits through the spring months. It is a great place to bring your guide book and practice identification. Also, the mature oak trees are majestic hiking partners. I can’t forget to mention the giant, award-winning eastern dawn redwood. Standing in front of Highwood Lodge, this redwood tree was named Best Shade Tree in Anderson Township’s Great Tree Awards.
Also, Shawnee Lookout provides an opportunity to learn about local native cultures on the Miami Fort Trail, to observe the endangered running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) and – if you are lucky – to witness bald eagles in the same day! Also, it provides great scenic views of the Ohio River Valley, Kentucky and Indiana.
What are your hopes for Great Parks of Hamilton County’s next 90 years?
I hope that our forests grow older, our prairies get bigger, our trails grow longer, our air and water is purer and our communities thrive because of all of those things keeping them happy, healthy, connected and inspired.