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Thread: BWCAW USFS Search and Rescue

  1. #1
    Yukon John's Avatar
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    BWCAW USFS Search and Rescue

    It's been talked about before, but the USFS Beavers in the BWCAW do an amazing job. As a member of the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Dept and SAR on the east side of the BWCAW, whether it is Forest Fires, Medical Evacs out of the Wilderness, or SAR, Henny and his crew are always there to make our job so much easier. Today was no exception.

    Yesterday, a women on a canoe trip decided to go hiking in the wilderness from her campsite even though there were no trails. After we got the call, GFTSAR went to the site. But was dark by the time we arrived and could only do an assessment.

    Regrouped this morning. As always, I had to take the difficult way in (instead of flying). But despite marginal weather, FS Beaver 2 showed up to fly a search grid before ferrying in more searchers to to do a ground search in the dense forest. He was able to find her and saved us probably at least two more days of searching. This is what they do, and they are good at it.

    Thank You Beaver 2 (Jeremy???).

    GFVFD SAR
    Just because you know you can do it, doesn't mean you should!

  2. #2
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Thanks JT. Great report.

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  3. #3

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    John what lake was this? How was rescue called? Cell phone? Satellite communicator? Thanks for looking out for the people.

  4. #4
    Yukon John's Avatar
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    The party was camped on Rib Lake. Beaver 2 found her on Dawkins Lake which would have been very difficult for us to get into, and frankly, that probably wouldn't have happened until day 3 or 4. She was very lucky that she hit the lake, and also that the rain held off until about 6am as she was only wearing shorts. I'm guessing that you know how dense our woods are.

    This summer, AT&T put a cell tower next to the ARMER tower on Gunflint Lake. Range is limited, but the party reporting her missing was able to get cell service. I can't because I don't have AT&T, but my understanding is any provider will allow 911 calls. This is the first call from a cell that I am aware of. Most of are calls are about 1/2 paddle out by one of the parties, or a good Samaritan canoeist. The other half is by Spot or Garmin etc. and a few SAT calls.
    Just because you know you can do it, doesn't mean you should!

  5. #5

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    I've spent a lot of time in the BWCA on the Echo Tr., can't imagine wearing shorts into the woods around any of that country! A phone with a good GPS app has replaced the compass (still essential). I like GAIA app with downloaded topo's. I know I've crossed my own tracks numerous times hunting Whitetails, who's been here? followed by an uneasy feeling as you recognize it's your tracks LOL.
    Nice job, hope I never need to make a call but it's good to know there's a dedicated team of pros out there.
    P.L. gave me nice tour of the FS floatplane base once.
    Thanks flynlow thanked for this post

  6. #6
    Henny's Avatar
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    John-

    Appreciate the nice words. That was Joe in Beaver 2 who found the lady. Jeremy, our newest pilot, hasn't had the pleasure of flying a SAR or MedEvac yet, except a ride-along with me during his initial training.

    This has been a pretty typical year with 13 events so far including 10 MedEvacs, 1 SAR, and 2 body recoveries.

    There have been a couple new cell towers put up on the west side of the forest also in the past few years and the cell coverage in the BW has expanded greatly.

    I went out to pick up a potential stroke victim on Basswood earlier this year and we were able to call the party while taxiing out to verify their location and get an update on the patient's condition for the EMT's.

    We enjoy giving tours of the base and the Beavers, so if anyone is in the area, be sure to PM me and we will get you on the schedule.

    Henny


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