Cover photo for Alan James Reynolds's Obituary
Alan James Reynolds Profile Photo
1943 Alan 2022

Alan James Reynolds

February 3, 1943 — November 20, 2022



Alan exited this world in the same manner that he lived in it; on his own terms.

Alan Reynolds was born Feb. 3, 1943, into a family of journalists. He lived all throughout the United States as well as a very fond period of his youth in Cuba where his father worked as a U.S. correspondent. He was a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War and was chosen to represent the U.S Navy beach volleyball team competing and winning tournaments until honorably discharged. He passed peacefully Nov. 20, 2022, at his home south of Ketchum.

After serving his country, he pursued a degree in zoology from U.C. Santa Barbara and then later a master's in land use analysis from the University of Montana. While in Montana, he was introduced to the burgeoning sport of whitewater kayaking. Recently, Alan remarked to friends when asked how he got into kayaking he said, “When I first saw whitewater kayakers, I knew I would never sit in a canoe again!” Alan pursued his passion with a fervor and kayaked all over the U.S. and world. He was relied upon as a world-class reader of river lines in which to navigate a rapid, and often you would find other kayakers seeking his advice. Alan was also a consummate outdoorsman, fisherman and adventurer, and you would run into him in the furthest reaches of the backcountry with only a small pack and perhaps his hiking companion, “Buddy,” a 12-pound dachshund. He would carry only a sleeping bag, and a collapsible fly rod and be out in the wilderness for days.

Alan was an active real estate broker in the Sun Valley area for over 29 years, first with Sun Valley Realty on the mall and later with Windermere Real Estate. He was a past president of the Sawtooth Board of Realtors and a Director for many years.

In addition, he was the County Planner, Building Inspector, and for nine years was a Blaine County Commissioner. It was during his role as county commissioner that Alan was instrumental in bringing higher education and CSI to the Wood River Valley. He served on the Blaine County Transportation Committee and was a leader in the Safe Wildlife Crossing initiative that aided in raising funding for reducing collisions and protecting wildlife. Additionally, he was the driving force behind many land use initiatives such as fisherman access to the Big Wood River and represented the Land Conservancy in the Idaho Forest Management Act of 1984 that was successful in keeping thousands of wilderness acres in conservancy. Alan contributed to the Big Wood River Atlas that provided scientific foundation for the future river management decisions that would advise and direct the scientific community, policy makers, and the broader Wood River Valley community.

He passionately served on the Blaine County Levy Advisory Board for six years that diligently awarded over $ 3.4 million dollars to fund conservation easements throughout the county. To date, the program has provided partial funding for six conservation easements that permanently protect 3,091 acres of productive agricultural lands, important water resources and wildlife habitat, as well as two restoration projects on 4,900 acres and several land conservancies boards and committees, always fighting for open space and access.

The draw for Alan to live in Sun Valley apart from the whitewater kayaking was his love of skiing. Many years later he switched to snowboarding for “a new challenge.” He enjoyed playing evening poker with his card buddies and will always be remembered for his dry wit and absolute candor.

But at his core, Alan was a hockey player. A loyal member of the Rusty Blades, where he spent countless Friday nights at the Sun Valley rink, building lifelong friendships and memories with determination and heart, playing with gusto until the final buzzer. Alan was a blue-line man, quietly patrolling the natural world with a heart of gold.

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