The Grand County Search and Rescue team covers a 4800 square mile recreational zone and provides service to southeastern Utah. We are the busiest Search and Rescue group in the State of Utah.
For the past ten years, we consistently averaged 80 calls per year. The popularity of motor sports, however, has significantly increased our numbers of calls to 104. In April of 2007, we responded to 24 calls within 30 days!
Grand County has thousands of miles of jeep and two track roads which are left over from the mining days. We rely on ATV’s and 4WDs, since most calls are related to backcountry injuries sustained from mountain biking and motorcycle riding. We respond, along with the EMS crew, by driving our 6WD Polaris Rangers to the incident. Our rangers are rigged with a rescue basket, backboards, oxygen and jump kits and a small-rock rescue kit.
We also search for ‘overdue’ groups who run out of daylight. A few still get lost, but the numbers have declined due to the increase in signage, guidebooks and general common knowledge.
The Colorado River passes nearby and contributes to some rescue work. The section known as, “the daily,” contributes to overturned boats and situations where folks need help. Further upstream is West Water Canyon, one of the finest one-day whitewater trips in the west. A few times each year, we retrieve a stranded boater, usually at night.
Grand County is mountainous and boasts peaks over 12,000 feet. Many people come to enjoy the back-country skiing. We have a Winter Rescue Team with some pretty radical skiers. In case of a winter emergency, they respond on snowmobiles and skis while the non-skiers take care of communications and base camp.
When a back-country injury is severe, we call in St. Mary’s CareFlight from Grand Junction Colorado. They are familiar with this area and trained to use night vision equipment.
We recently called upon Intermountain Healthcare’s Life Flight for a hoist mission. Life Flight was the best choice to extricate an injured base jumper. We appreciate their expertise, patient care and rescuer safety.
Grand County Search and Rescue enjoys an excellent reciprocal relationship with the National Park Service. The Park Rangers are highly skilled with search and rescue techniques. When either group needs help, the other responds. Together, we’ve had a lot of fun through the years.
The GCSAR receives call through the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center. The dispatchers ferret out and relay as much information as possible. Sometimes they only receive a few broken words from a bad cell phone connection to 911! As will most rural counties, our dispatch center deals with every agency in the area. Thank you dispatch - we appreciate you!
Grand County S&R commander is Rex Tanner. Rex has been in the fray for more than 15 years. Vice Commander is Bego Gerhart. Training Officer is Frank Mendonca. Equipment Officer is John Marshall. Secretary is Nancy May. One of us is on call every day of the year.
Grand County Sheriff’s Office is powered by Sheriff James D. Nyland who was recently awarded the prestigious Lawman of the Year by the Utah Sheriff’s Association. Chief Deputy Curty Brewer has been on duty for 26 years and worked with S&R, EMS and Fire for much of that time. Lieutenants Steve White and Veronica Bullock oversee the deputies, investigations and corrections. Patrol work consists of three Sergeants and a patrol of deputies. This group typically determines if S& R should be called for an incident. The department is kept in order by Boxy and Eve. They will be the first to great you at the office.
Thank you, Sheriff’ Nyland, for your support, so that we may, “be what we need to be so that others may live.”