Celebrating 10 Years of “Wrunning for Wray” and Honoring His Legacy through Conservation

Join the Teton Regional Land Trust on Saturday, June 22 at Grand Targhee Resort for the 10th Annual Wrun for Wray Targhee Hill Climb held in honor of Wray Landon IV. The 2.9-mile race starts at 10am at the base of the Dreamcatcher chairlift and climbs 1,840’ to the top of Fred’s Mountain. Come join us to race or cheer on the participants. After the race, there will be a raffle and celebration. Proceeds from the race and the raffle will benefit the Teton Regional Land Trust’s Wray Landon Legacy Fund. You can register online at: https://tetonlandtrust.org/event/wrun-for-wray/ or at Grand Targhee on the day of the race. This year’s overall male and female race winners will win a Grand Targhee season ski pass.

Wray Landon IV who was born on September 6, 1979, in Westerly, Rhode Island and passed away in an avalanche on February 21, 2010, on the South Teton Peak. Wray began his professional career with Teton Regional Land Trust as an intern in 2007. Due in large part to his hard work ethic, his goal-oriented zeal, and his ability to communicate with a variety of landowners, Wray was soon offered a full-time position as the Resource Specialist for the Land Trust.

Wray was a skilled naturalist and biologist who developed an impressive understanding of the natural systems of the Upper Snake River Watershed. He applied his knowledge with fervor and skill towards the stewardship of conservation easement lands. His field work and knowledge of the resources helped guide the permanent contracts negotiated with landowners to protect private lands.  His good sense and courtesy endeared him to the landowners with whom the Land Trust worked, helping build those strong relationships essential to the conservation of private lands.  His surveys of Yellowstone cutthroat redds, Sandhill Cranes in Teton Valley, song-birds on the South Fork, and waterfowl along the Henry’s Fork, added to the knowledge of wildlife resources in eastern Idaho.

Wray’s wit, like the man himself, was characteristically understated and on target – often conveying the humor in a situation with a couple of wry words and a twinkle in his eye. Wray had an extremely positive attitude and was an incredible listener. For the level of his athleticism and strength, he was extremely modest. Whenever people would ask how he did in a race he would often respond pretty well, when he really had won and possibly even smoked the competition.

Wray was a man of the high mountains; and he was also passionate about wetland conservation, plant ecology, and wildlife. At the time of his passing, Wray was part of the grant-writing team working on a project that resulted in the protection of thousands of acres of important habitat along the Henry’s Fork River. The grant was successful in raising $1,000,000. Wray was also the lead on the Woods Creek Fen Kiosk project. It was his idea to construct the observation platform and install a viewing scope so that everyone could see this landscape from a higher perspective. The observation platform is marked with a plaque dedicating it in memory of Landon.

To carry forward his legacy and love for the land, the Wray Landon Legacy Fund was established. Altogether, the fund has raised just over $113,000. Of the money raised, approximately half is held in the Wray Landon Legacy Fund at the Land Trust. These funds will be used to advance conservation projects in the Teton Valley in coming years.

Over the past 10 years, the fund has also been used to catalyze a handful of projects and support the Land Trust’s stewardship program. In the year after his passing, funds were used to complete the Woods Creek Fen Outdoor Classroom and to help match the $1,000,000 North American Wetland Conservation grant that he was helping to write. The fund has been used to enhance the Land Trust’s summer internship program and to hire a permanent land manager position. The funds have helped us advance our monitoring efforts of iconic species of the Greater Yellowstone including Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Sandhill Cranes, and songbirds. Other funds have been applied to conservation easement acquisitions and habitat restoration across the Teton Valley.

If you are interested in donating to the Wray Land Legacy Fund or learning more about the fund, call 208-354-8939, email christine@tetonlandtrust.org or send your donation to PO Box 247, Driggs, ID 83422. Gifts can also be made through the Community Foundation of Teton Valley’s Tin Cup Challenge which is now open through Friday, July 26th at 5pm. Please mark your gift for the Wray Landon Legacy Fund.