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Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue expects busy summer after June rescues

Posted at 3:05 PM, Jul 06, 2024

BOZEMAN — The College M Trail is one of the most popular trail running spots in Bozeman. But what happens when this recreational activity goes south? Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue can tell you all about it because they rescued someone Tuesday night.

I asked the first trail runners I saw, fresh off the M trail, how often they run there. They told me, “A lot, once a week,” and “Probably twice a week because I live up the road”.

The M trail to Baldy Peak is heavily trafficked with trail runners. And although some people are out there daily, anything can happen to even the most experienced recreators.

“Our team was dispatched to an injured trail runner who had hurt his leg on the descent from Baldy. And that's not an uncommon call type for us,” says Jason Revisky.

Jason is the training coordinator for Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue, or GCSSAR, and has been with them for 30 years. Jason was on scene Tuesday night and walked me through the rescue.

He tells me around 9pm, “Crews just quickly deployed using standard medical equipment, warming equipment, and our one-wheeled litter. Which is what we use to put the patient in to move them safely to the trailhead.”

Jason tells me a crew of nine hiked to just below Baldy Peak, almost 5 miles out, carrying all their search and rescue equipment, including the one-wheel litter which weighs around 50 pounds.

I asked Jason, “How long did it take you guys to reach him?” He told me, “From the trailhead, I would guess getting to him was maybe 45 minutes. We have very fit people on SAR and they do amazing work”.

And this isn’t the first hike the GCSSAR team has taken this summer. Rescuers were deployed over six times in June, and on quite the variety of rescues as well.

GCSSAR Commander Matt Boxmeyer told me, “I rescued some bicyclists, we had a couple of horseback incidents down outside of West Yellowstone, we had two skiers up onTthe Great One in the Bridgers."

Along with some stranded rafters and disoriented hikers.

Boxmeyer has been with GCSSAR for over 20 years, so I asked him, “Do you expect the rest of the summer to be pretty busy?”

He told me, “I do. Anyone that's gone out and recreated anywhere around Bozeman can tell there's an influx of people hitting the mountains. And anytime you have more people out recreating, you have more people getting lost."

Which is why Boxmeyer offers summer recreators this advice: “Make sure you have the appropriate gear for changing weather conditions. If you’re able, have some sort of communication device. Tell people where you're going beforehand, so if you get lost, we know where to start looking. And make sure you have plenty of food and water."

And, to even bring extra for yourself or others that may need it. On Tuesday night’s rescue, Jason tells me, “There were two other unrelated parties who were running that stopped to help.”

Jason wants to let all recreators know, “That's such a help to us as an organization, that other members of the community are willing to lend a hand. It’s bad enough to be hurt but to be hurt and alone is worse”.

To learn more about GCSSAR missions from June, visit their Facebook page.