Forest service donates maps

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Last weekend, members of Routt County Search and Rescue team were looking for an airplane that crashed. At times, the depths of the forest kept their GPS systems from working.

That's why they need maps.

Search and Rescue workers have about 250 new maps to work with, thanks to the U.S. Forest Service. This week, the service donated the maps, which cover Routt National Forest and some outlying areas.

The maps will be valuable, Dawn Alperti, vice president of Search and Rescue, said Wednesday.

"At least half of our missions end up on National Forest land, so we need the maps," she said.

The Forest Service had a supply of the maps, said Diann Ritschard, public affairs spec-ialist.

"We really want to share them with the county to aid them in their search-and-rescue work," she said.

The quadrangle maps show topographic relief and include details such as streams, mountains, roads, grasslands, along with forest and county and wilderness boundaries.

Forest Service and Search and Rescue officials looked over the maps Wednesday, pointing at features and discussing the benefits of the maps.

"We really appreciate it," said Jim Linville, Search and Rescue team leader.

"We don't have very many opportunities to give things away," replied Kim Vogel, district ranger for the service's Hahn's Peak/Bears Ears district.

Search and Rescue keeps maps for planning and in the organization's bus and truck. The maps disappear or are ruined as teams are sent out in the elements and when other organizations use them.

"They don't last long. We are constantly having to replace or replenish them," Alperti said.

Search and Rescue has performed about 60 missions this year, about twice as many as the total missions for the past couple of years.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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