“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
Trygve Howard Culp, 71, from Twisp and Okanogan and some great number of points through the fore- and backcountry, died peacefully Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, surrounded by three generations of family.
He was born to Howard E. and H. Alice Culp on March 28, 1946, in Omak, Washington. His younger years in and around Twisp included building a trail around the family property with his big brother Berry, camping, hiking and floating down the Methow River. He went to school in Twisp from his earliest elementary years through his junior year in high school, where he played football and competed with the high school ski team. While still a teen, he also adventured by skiing at the Loup, floating the Methow River and working on the Pacific Crest Trail.
As a senior, he transferred to Okanogan and played center on the football team. He met a girl who worked for his mother named Janet Hirni, they fell in love and were married July 9, 1966, at the Methodist Church in Okanogan for what was to be a 51-year union. After graduating from Okanogan High School in 1964, he went to the University of Idaho’s school of forestry where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. While there, he entered the university’s ROTC program where he earned the Distinguished Military Graduate, upon graduation in 1969.
Tryg then received a commission in the U.S. Army in 1969 and he and his family traveled to Ft. Benning, Georgia. He and his family lived around the United States and Germany, serving in many locations in various roles, including weapons platoon leader, anti-tank platoon leader, executive officer, tac officer and company commander. He left the Army as a captain in 1979 to move back to the Okanogan.
He began his work with the U.S. Forest Service that summer as a brush disposal crew boss on the Conconully Ranger District. The next summer he became crew boss of the Timber Stand Improvement Crew Leader. In 1982, he was hired on full-time, year-round with the Forest Service where he became a silviculturalist. During his early years with the Forest Service, he designed and built a big log house in Okanogan. He also fought many forest fires throughout his career. In 1994, he spent 103 nights away from home beginning that season in Alaska in early May. Near the end of his career, he became a safety officer on a state Type 2 Incident Management Team. He retired from the Forest Service in 2001 after 22 years.
After a couple years of private forest consulting, Tryg began working for the Pacific Northwest Trail Association. He worked as the coordinator in Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry Counties and then became the coordinator for Okanogan County. He worked with local high schools to hire students to do trail maintenance and construction. After 12 years coordinating trail work with the PNTA, he retired again.
Tryg always enjoyed the mountains. He and big brother Berry would go camping for a week at a time as early as age 11 and 12. War Creek Campground was a favorite of the whole family. He grew up scouting and once earned the Boy Scouts of America’s Certificate of Merit by saving a young boy from drowning in the Methow River. He carved many a turn at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl (starting at age 2) over the years.
In 1993, he began using horses, mules and donkeys to enjoy the mountains to a much greater extent. He even used his horses and mules in his work with the PNTA, packing in supplies for his crews. His critters also packed many elk and deer camps into several wilderness areas around Washington and Idaho. In 1995, he and Janet joined the local chapter of the Back Country Horsemen. He was on the BCH state board of directors and served a two-year term as president.
Tryg was actively involved in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for over a decade. He was a life member and on the fundraising/banquet committee where he served two years as co-chair. He was also involved with Washington Outfitter and Guides Association, helping on their annual Ride to Rendezvous. He loved his volunteer work in the organizations that he truly thought were making a difference toward outdoor recreation.
He is survived by his wife, Janet, of Okanogan, his children, Kristin Ewing (Ric) of Renton, Aaron (Heather) of Okanogan, Jon (Dayla) of Okanogan, and Pia of Spokane; his grandchildren, Samantha, Mathew, Gunnar, Mackenzie, Jakson, Caulan, Devin and Masyn; and his bonus children, Bodie and Kristin Ackerman of Aeneas Valley. He is also survived by his siblings, Berent, Barbara, Chris and Nick.
A celebration of Tryg’s life will take place on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m. at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex. Because he was such a fan of the potluck, please bring a side dish or dessert and your favorite story.
Tryg asked that you please consider a donation to either the Back Country Horsemen of Washington, P.O. Box 1132, Ellensburg, WA 98926; or Okanogan Community Homeless Shelters, P.O. Box 345, Okanogan, WA 98840.