Bryson Allen Wilderness Experience Endowment Fund
About the Wilderness Experience Endowment Fund
The Bryson Allen Wilderness Experience Endowment Fund provides support for the Freshmen Wilderness Experience (FWE) including registration fee waivers to incoming freshmen at the University of Montana to enable them to participate in the Freshman Wilderness Experience (FWE). Supporting the cost of registration, the registration fee waivers will be awarded to students who are passionate about the outdoors but otherwise may not be able to participate in FWE.
“The unfolding of life that one gets to see in the wilderness is one of the most magnificent things in this world to me. It’s as if the wild is a slow-flowing river. It’s always moving, always turning, yet never truly changing in character if one doesn’t look too closely. When I take a trip into the backcountry, it’s as if I’m visiting a different country. I see this great expanse of life that is always so close to me, yet experiencing life and existence in a profoundly different way.”—Bryson Allen
About Bryson Allen
Bryson Patrick Allen (Jan 25, 1996 – June 28, 2019) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 25, 1996. He moved with his family to Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 2000 and grew up there. He learned to love and care for wilderness through exploration and service opportunities in Olympic National Park and other wild places in the Pacific Northwest.
Bryson moved to Missoula in 2014 to pursue a degree in wildlife biology at the University of Montana, combining his passion for the outdoors with his curiosity for scientific inquiry. Graduating with a degree in wildlife biology in 2018, Bryson received the University Scholar distinction from the Davidson Honors College.
During his college career, Bryson's involvement in the Outdoor Program (ODP) had a huge influence on him. He got involved in outdoor programs right away and ultimately taught classes as a climbing instructor, wilderness leader and mentor. He cultivated a connection to the ODP even before his first semester at UM, participating in an outdoor orientation program called the Freshman Wilderness Experience (FWE). He led FWE outings in subsequent years and continued building his wilderness and backcountry skills, eventually earning certification as a licensed wilderness EMT.
In the summer after graduating from UM, Bryson worked for NorthStar Trekking in Juneau, Alaska, as a guide on the Mendenhall Glacier. He loved Alaska and, after a winter working at Alta Ski Area, returned in June of 2019 to work on the glacier again. He loved exploring, climbing and skiing and took every opportunity for adventures with friends when he had free time. At the age of 23, Bryson tragically passed away due to injuries sustained in a climbing accident on the Mendenhall Towers in Juneau.
Bryson is remembered by his friends in the U of M community and in Juneau as a reliable friend and teacher, a courageous and careful climber, and a kind and humble young man. He was wise beyond his years and taught us all by his example. This fund will carry on Bryson's legacy by helping new students experience the beauty and peace of wild places.
The wild has given me new life. Each time I return from even the smallest trip, that’s how I feel. It has given me peace or stressed my wits close to the point of their breaking but has cleared my mind of the normal thoughts regardless. It has renewed something deep within me: a resolve to be the best version of myself and to find the clear right path in a world full of winding, wandering roads. The best thing that the wild has given me is passion to do good work in pursuit of my way of preserving the value of wild lands." —Bryson Allen
Make a gift in memory of Bryson Allen.