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hunter shotwell

Memorial fund

“I think Castleton Tower should stay open and the land should stay the same. It’s so old and huge, and it’s survived a bunch of things. It’s better without houses on it.”

– 11 year old, James Hunter Shotwell III.

Hunter showed us what it meant to fight for what is important. His story lives on through the forever-preservation of Castleton Tower, through the conservation of future landscapes.


Hunter’s story with Utah Open Lands begun on his 11th birthday, 17 years ago. All he wanted for his birthday was to see Castleton Tower preserved forever. His generosity, gumption and persistence at the young age of eleven is something many of us hope to embody. He told his story and the stories of future generations by helping save the tower where children can explore, athletes can climb, and families can connect. This 221-acre parcel, forever-protecting the memory of Hunter, will remain because of him. With the donation of his birthday gifts to save Castleton Tower, he chose to lead by example.

In that one act of donating his birthday gifts he inspired a world of climbers, and supporters who all asked “what am I willing to give up to save something for the next generation?” He chose to lead by example and made all those around him very proud. “It’s one thing to ask for money, and another to actually see it through and hand it away. I’m extremely proud” said his father Jay Shotwell.


As an avid fly fisherman and established climber and skier, Hunter constantly chased that which made him happy- being outside. He had a “zest for life, nature and adventure” which guided him to skydiving, base jumping and speed flying. He enjoyed woodworking, fly tying, gardening and sewing sports gear in his downtime. His dedication, hard work and selflessness gave us hope then and will continue to give us hope for the future.


We are forever grateful to the mindfulness of Hunter and his family. He will be sadly missed, and forever a part of the legacy of open lands in the Utah.

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Click HERE to donate to the Hunter Shotwell Memorial Fund. 

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