Grand County Search and Rescue crew members kept busy in 2017, responding to 132 calls, including this incident near Moab. [Photo courtesy of Craig Sanchez]

Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR) responded to a variety of incidents in 2017, from accidents involving injured climbers to lost horseback riders to an airplane crash.

Always one of the busiest Search and Rescue groups in Utah, GCSAR was called out 132 times last year, down from 155 calls in 2016.

Grand County’s popularity as a mountain biking and backcountry travel destination was reflected in GCSAR’s workload.

The group responded to 34 incidents involving mountain bikers, 28 calls involving motorized off-road travel and 24 calls involving hikers. It was also called out for several technical rope rescues, river rescues and a wide variety of other emergencies. Helicopters assisted in 27 incidents.

“Grand County’s geography and variety of visitors and activities makes our job unique and challenging,” GCSAR Commander Jim Webster said. “We currently have 28 members, and are always looking for people willing to dedicate the time to go through our year-long training program and commit to becoming contributing members.”

Search and Rescue personnel must be ready to respond anywhere in the county at any hour of the day or night, Webster said.

Nadi Ardalan, who responded to 83 incidents last year, was the group’s top responder. Tom Shellenberger responded 66 times, followed by Mike Coronella with 56 responses.

GCSAR members spent a total of 2,667 hours at incidents. The group was asked to respond to the Porcupine Rim area a total of 16 times, more than any other area of the county. The Hell’s Revenge and Slickrock Bike Trail area accounted for 12 calls.

Group seeks new volunteers to help with workload

For more information, visit the GCSAR website at