Looking Out for Scout Lookout
“John was an incredibly friendly person who cared deeply about the park,” remembers Jeff Bradybaugh, the Superintendent of Zion National Park. A business law professor turned backcountry volunteer, John Donnell committed his retirement years to clearing brush, hiking trails, and building community. He was a pioneer for conserving the Greater Zion Landscape and hoped to inspire future public land protectors, starting with the youth of his own family. Through an impactful and lasting gift, John’s legacy includes forever preserving a key parcel of private land within the Zion boundary, acres that are now a part of the park.
A short time later, John’s son Brian and his wife Carla, who met while on Peace Corps assignment in Vanuatu, approached the Zion Forever Project with their own contribution. Informed by their international development experience, Brian and Carla asked the Forever Project: “What does Zion need the most?”
Creating a new restroom facility for Scout Lookout, a stopping point on the Angel’s Landing trail, wasn’t a flashy project. Caught in the deferred maintenance backlog for decades, the Scout Lookout restrooms were a persistent public health and environmental concern and a high funding priority for the park. Brian and Carla’s unrestricted giving launched an effort that leveraged federal and nonprofit funds, and new restrooms were installed in December 2018.
John Donnell’s life inspired multi-generational giving. Brian and Carla Donnell have made a lasting impact on the long-term quality of the park honoring the legacy of someone they deeply loved. As Carla explains, “With a little bit from a lot of people, we can make a real difference for the park.”
As we embark on a year-long celebration that commemorates the establishment of Zion National Park 100 years ago, John, Brian, and Carla Donnell are leading the effort to Pitch In for Zion’s Next 100 years. Will you join them, and us, in making a difference?