Wednesday, July 3: The body of 61 year-old environmental activist and Carbondale resident James "Randy" Udall was discovered Wednesday evening by an aerial search and rescue team.
The Sublette County Sheriff's Department says Udall's body was discovered by a helicopter flying over rolling terrain in Wyoming, where Udall had been missing since failing to return on Friday from a solo hiking trip in the Wind River Range area near Pinedale.
Statements released by both the Sheriff's Department and Mr. Udall's family say that no foul play is suspected, and the cause of death appears to be natural causes. An autopsy is to be performed in Loveland.
The family's statement said Mr. Udall, brother of U.S. Senator Mark Udall, appeared to be hiking along an obscure trail he had planned in advance and informed his family of. A multi-agency search effort including the Wyoming Air National Guard, Sublette County Authorities, the U.S. Forest Service and others had been underway since Friday, when Mr. Udall was reported missing.
Among other environmentalist activities, Mr. Udall was once Director for the Community Office for Resource Efficiency. The statement from the Udall family can be viewed in full below.
A Statement From the Udally Family on the Passing of James "Randy" Udall
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Randy. Randy's body was discovered today by the heroic search and rescue team that worked for days to locate him in a remote area of the Wind River Range of Wyoming. Our family is extremely grateful to Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford, his staff, Tip Top Search and Rescue, the United States Forest Service, Wyoming Air National Guard, and all others involved for their tireless efforts over the past several days. Although an autopsy is forthcoming, it appears he died of natural causes."
"Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world. He appeared to be on the obscure, off-trail route that he had proposed to his family. The entire Udall family is touched beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support from people around the country. Randy's passing is a reminder to all of us to live every day to its fullest, just as he did."