The Mason County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Program is comprised of active duty department personnel and highly-trained civilian volunteers. One sergeant and nine
deputies are currently trained and mission capable to coordinate any search or rescue operation that can be thrown at them. These coordinators are responsible
for the prompt and efficient ordering of resources, mission planning and on scene command and control. Our 34 active volunteers
are specialists in search techniques, communications, first aid, outdoor survival strategies and low-angle subject extraction. Additional training is provided
in helicopter insertions and extractions, ATV operations and the use of specialized rescue equipment. These dedicated volunteers answer calls at all hours, in
Mason County, population 60,000, is located near the foothills of the Olympic Mountains and Olympic National Forest. It is 962 square miles in area
with approximately 300 miles of salt water front on south Puget Sound and Hood Canal. There are 200 fresh water lakes.
Mason County offers a rich variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all ages. The Olympic National Park Olympic National Forest,
Hood Canal and Puget Sound are all a part of this wilderness.
Mason County is a favored destination for hikers, campers, divers and a host of other outdoor enthusiasts. Due to the rugged, remote wilderness areas,
abundant waterways and miles of forest lands, there is a need for a dedicated, competent and credible individuals who volunteer their time and resources
to finding and rescuing lost and injured individuals in Mason County.
2016 was a busy year for the volunteers of Mason County Search and Rescue. The following numbers come from a review of the official activity reports,
showing the hours logged for various activities as well as mileage on personal vehicles. Not counted here are the countless hours spent on equipment
maintenance, communications, administrative errands and activity preparation, all of which are necessary to ensure the unit's success.
Searches: MCSAR participated in 18 searches, contributing 951 man hours and logging 7,763 miles. Six of these events were out of county, assisting
neighboring jurisdictions with 199 man hours of effort and 3,063 miles of travel.
Training: to ensure a high level of readiness, training is essential. To that end, MCSAR volunteers participated in a total of 3,140.5 hours of
training evolutions for the year, logging 8,634 miles to do so.
Public Events: our members attended a number of community events during the course of the year, totaling 337 hours with 1,885 miles of travel.
All told, MCSAR personnel officially contributed 4,734 hours of their time and logged 19,023 miles as part of their service to Mason County
and our neighbors. We expect 2017 to be just as busy.
MCSAR in the News
Mason County Search and Rescue was assisted by ground, mountain, 4x4, ATV and canine units from 11 other Puget Sound search and rescue teams
in a comprehensive search for Zachary Krull, a 20 year old student at Evergreen State College. Zach was reported missing on Monday, April 10th,
and was last seen at the Staircase Campground in the Olympic National Park. He is presumed to be carrying his backpack, snowshoes and trekking poles,
and had expressed interest in pursuing the Mt Skokomish peak route before catching a Mason Transit bus back to Evergreen. Anyone with information
regarding Zach's whereabouts is asked to contact Lt Jason Dracobly of the Mason County Sheriff's Office at (360) 427-9670, extension 313, or call 911.
Backcountry hikers should bear in mind that recent unpredictable snowfalls combined with warmer temperatures create extremely hazardous avalanche
conditions near all of the most popular Olympic National Forest peaks. Please evaluate your equipment, skill level and emergency plan prior to making
any summit attempts in the park, and be sure to leave a detailed hike/climb plan with a responsible non-participant.
Members of Mason County Search and Rescue prepare to participate in the 2016 Christmas Parade through downtown Shelton. Despite inclement weather,
the turnout from the community was fantastic! Many thanks to the parade organizers and our community leaders for making this year's event a tremendous
Mason County Search and Rescue responded to a call from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office for assistance in locating a hunter who had fallen
into the Canyon River near the Mason/Grays Harbor County line. Unfortunately, the missing man was found deceased on a mid-river gravel bar approximately
one mile downstream of his last known location. A team from German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington State and MCSAR volunteers retrieved the victim
and his gear from the water, but had to halt further recovery efforts due to inhospitable terrain and fading light.
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