Search and Rescue annual fundraiser announces line up of activities

Photo courtesy USJSAR
Members of the Upper San Juan Search and Rescue team participate in a Rigging for Ropes Rescue training. The organization’s annual fundraiser will be held today, Thursday, June 22, in front of Wyndham welcome center (corner of Pinon Causeway and U.S. 160) from 4 until 8 p.m.[/caption]

By Mike Le Roux

Special to The SUN

Wyndham is once again hosting the Upper San Juan Search and Rescue (USJSAR) annual fundraiser this Thursday, June 22.

The event will be at the big blue and white tent in front of the Wyndham welcome center (corner of Pinon Causeway and U.S. 160) from 4 until 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome and there will be complimentary food as well as a beer garden manned by local Rotarians, and live music by Tim Sullivan.

This event provides the majority of USJSAR’s funding for the year and this year the aim is to raise enough money to purchase a new Polaris 2-Up ATV, a replica of which will be on display. This ATV is designed to carry two people in the backcountry and will enable a “hasty” team to mobilize at the trailhead for first response action. The rest of the team can then follow, carrying in vital medical and extraction equipment on foot and in the 6x6 Ranger. This Ranger UTV will be displayed with the new patient-carrying module that was purchased with the funds raised at the same event last year.

USJSAR will also be showcasing its full response vehicle, with medical and safety equipment, as well as one of the packhorses used in backcountry rescue (particularly in remote and wilderness areas that are impossible to access with ATVs).

In addition, the organization has arranged for its specialist ropes team to demonstrate a Kootenay high-line rescue system using a patient litter and dummy. This horizontal technical ropes system is used to suspend and transport patients across gorges, canyons and rivers to safety.

Mike Le Roux, director of Emergency Operations with Archuleta County, noted, “Aside from the important fundraising aspect of this event there will also be plenty of education and information available throughout the evening, so that attendees can take something away with them about safety in the backcountry. USJSAR volunteer team members will be available to talk to anyone interested in learning more, just look for their bright yellow and red T-shirts.”

USJSAR will be selling limited-edition logoed ceramic campfire coffee mugs for $12 and Outdoor Safety and Essentials Kits for $10. The kit includes a poncho, space blanket, signal whistle/compass, light, fire starter supplies, water purification tablets, signal mirror and some basic first aid. For $13, kits will include a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card.

If all that’s not enough, there will be a gun demonstration by Colorado Gunfighters, who will auction a firearm as well. Other top silent auction items are a bicycle, a Wolf Creek ski pass, a Stihl chain saw and fly-fishing rods. Children’s events will include a fire truck, bounce house, root beer floats and face painting.

Donations are welcome at any time before, during and after the event and are all tax-deductible. If anyone is unable to attend the event but would like to donate, you can either call the number below or donate online at

For more information, please contact Jacque Fahrion at 731-8914 or