Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR) is a non-profit corporation providing emergency search, rescue, and recovery operations under the authorization of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO). In 2018, GCSAR logged over 7000 hours of training, incident response, and administration time involving 52 missions. The organization is comprised of about 40 professional volunteers trained and equipped for emergency backcountry, all-season humanitarian search and rescue operations benefitting the residents and visitors of Grand County. Additionally, there are several Associate and Reserve members that assist in achieving our life-saving objective. By charter, GCSAR does not charge for service. GCSAR is currently accredited by the Mountain Rescue Association.
GCSAR was incorporated in 1985 in Grand County and is a self-governing non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation with its own Bylaws and Board of Directors. There are no paid positions, all 40 active members are volunteers.
Grand County owns and furnishes four (4) trucks for GCSAR exclusive use and these are based in Kremmling (shared county facilities), Fraser (County Road and Bridge), and Stillwater (private rented garage).
GCSAR purchases and owns all snowmobiles, ATV’s, trailers, patient transport equipment, medical supplies, computers and office equipment, avalanche rescue equipment, technical rope gear for high-angle rescues, various litters, radios, helmets, outdoor storage containers for equipment, and other safety equipment necessary to accomplish our mission.
Our responsibility is in a county of 1870 square miles, 15,000 residents, but close enough to the Denver metropolitan area to attract thousands of outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Not all these visitors understand the hazards of elevation, weather, fire danger, avalanche potential, etc. Many are ill-equipped, overconfident, and form our “client base”.
GCSAR responds about 50-60 times/year for lost and/or injured hikers, hunters, bikers, climbers, snowmobilers, rafters, walk-away Alzheimer patients, and body recoveries. We assist the Sheriff in urban searches for children who wandered away from home or a campsite. We assist the Sheriff in fire evacuations and provide stand-by rescue support for firefighters in dangerous terrain. We are sometimes inserted by helicopter into inaccessible terrain for injured subjects. We initiate cell phone forensics through the Air Force. The majority of our missions extend after dark. Adjacent counties and Rocky Mountain National Park often request our participation in “mutual aid” missions (quid pro quo).
Since 2014, GCSAR volunteers have contributed an annual average of 6716 hours. If that volunteer effort were replaced by county employees at a $36/hr rate, the value contributed by GCSAR to the health, safety, and welfare of residents and visitors is $242,000 on an annual average.
GCSAR would like to thank several organizations for their generous recent grants:
- Middle Park High School – Student Philanthropy Fund. GCSAR will be using this grant to purchase pulse oximeters. These will allow the team to rapidly assess the pulse rate and oxygen content of patients during field missions. This information is important to provide to the next level of medical care (EMS, Emergency Room, helicopter).
- Town of Winter Park. GCSAR will purchase a Skidoo Expedition Sport snowmobile to replace an aging vehicle. This new snowmobile will allow GCSAR to quickly and effectively reach people needing rescue in snow conditions.
- Board of County Commissions. GCSAR will purchase snowmobile helmets and litter handles. GCSAR will also be sending team members to man tracking classes. This class will improve the skills of the team in finding those who are lost.
To support GCSAR, please visit us on Facebook or the GCSAR website – http://grandcountysar.com/. GCSAR is currently planning the Paul Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament fundraiser this summer.