Routt County Search and Rescue members set up a 1,100-foot rope rescue system near King Solomon Falls on July 1.

file photo

Routt County Search and Rescue members set up a 1,100-foot rope rescue system near King Solomon Falls on July 1.

Routt County Search and Rescue looking for new members

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Those interested in joining Routt County Search and Rescue should complete an application available at www.routtcountysar.org and have it postmarked by Sept. 17. Email rcsearchrescue@gmail.com with any questions.

By the numbers

2012 so far: 27 service calls, 12 missions

2011: 71 service calls, 41 missions

2010: 73 service calls, 40 missions

2009: 64 service calls, 47 missions

2008: 52 service calls, 32 missions

— Routt County Search and Rescue is calling on anyone with a flexible job and an accommodating family to consider joining its group of about 25 active members.

“It’s a time commitment more than anything else,” said Chad Bowdre, president of the Search and Rescue board.

Bowdre said that in past years, the group has recruited volunteers in January, but it decided to move the effort to fall to take advantage of training opportunities on Saturdays in October.

People interested need to complete an application available at www.routtcountysar.org and have it postmarked by Sept. 17. Board members will interview applicants Oct. 2.

Bowdre said those interested in joining need to understand that members are on call at all hours of every day and are expected to go on missions whenever they can. He said that every year, about 10 new members come on board, and half of them make it through the probationary period.

“Job, family and life get in the way, and some of us can just be a little more flexible than others,” Bowdre said.

He said Search and Rescue provides the training, so applicants do not need extensive outdoors experience. People with questions can email rcsearchrescue@gmail.com.

Search and Rescue provides free services to residents and visitors to Routt County.

“It’s just like calling the fire department,” Bowdre said. “If you’re lost out there or hurt, call us.”

Members also occasionally assist other search and rescue groups with missions.

So far, this year has not been as busy as previous years. Member Kristia Check-Hill said Routt County Search and Rescue has received 27 calls so far this year that have led to 12 missions. That’s trending down from 2011, when there were 71 calls that resulted in 41 missions.

Check-Hill attributed the decrease in calls and missions to a mild winter that resulted in little snowfall and fewer people venturing into the backcountry, where the avalanche danger was high throughout most of the winter.

“I think people were listening to people saying, ‘It’s not worth it,’” Check-Hill said.

But the year is not over for Search and Rescue, and more missions are expected as winter approaches and the hunting season ramps up.

“It kind of depends on the weather,” Check-Hill said.

She reminded people to take their fully charged cellphones into the backcountry but to turn them off until they need them. Check-Hill also advised people to tell someone exactly where they are going and when they expect to be back.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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