Its Ski Season

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  Just because the ski hills are not open yet does not mean there is no skiing.  Recent snow fall has lured skiers into the mountains and with that comes the occasional rescue.  Today at about 5:30 P.M. a 19 year old MSU student fell after a jump at Bridger Bowl Ski area breaking his lower leg.  Sheriff’s Search and Rescue units were dispatched along with the Bridger Canyon Fire Department and AMR ambulance at 6:00 P.M. after someone found him and made their way to cell service to call 911.  Rescuers used snowmobiles and a rescue sled to transport him the rest of the way down the mountain to a waiting ambulance.

Sheriff Gootkin reminds us that early season skiing carries extra risk.  “Even if you are on a ski area there is no avalanche control or ski patrol until they open later this month.  You have to take that into account and spend the time to get educated and be prepared for emergencies.  Ski with a  partner, carry avalanche gear and emergency supplies.”

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.  Volunteer Rescuers cleaning up and getting ready for the next call after the rescue at Bridger Bowl.


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Gallatin County Completes Annual Flood Mitigation Update

Gallatin County is a participant in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) Program. This program offers landowners in County jurisdictional areas a discount on their flood insurance premiums dependent on an evaluation and scoring of the County’s floodplain management program. Gallatin County is currently categorized as a Class 8 community which provides up to a 10% discount on flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program. One of the activities that Gallatin County is currently receiving CRS credit for is the maintenance of the Gallatin County Hazard Mitigation Plan (adopted by FEMA on September 18, 2012). To continue to receive credit for the Hazard Mitigation Plan we are required to prepare an annual progress report on the flood-related portions of the Hazard Mitigation Plan and provide copies of that update to the County Commission and the media. A progress report was completed in October of 2016, so this progress report covers activities completed over the last year.

To continue to receive credit for the Hazard Mitigation Plan we are required to prepare an annual progress report on the flood-related portions of the Hazard Mitigation Plan and provide copies of that update to the County Commission and the media.

The attached progress report was approved by the All Hazards All Disciplines (AHAD) Group at its October 26, 2017 meeting.

Questions can be directed to the Gallatin County Planning Department.

Download report at:


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Little Bear Rescue

On 11-04-17 at about 8:00 PM, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a call advising of a vehicle, which had slid off the dirt road and was in a precarious position up Little Bear Road. The caller said he had found the occupied vehicle partly off the road with about a 15-20 foot drop off below them. The occupants did not want to get out of the vehicle in fear of the car going over the edge.

Due to the non-specific directions and the need to get help on scene quickly, the Gallatin County Search and Rescue was activated with a Gallatin County Deputy acting as incident coordinator.

As it turns out the vehicle was located not very far up Little Bear Road.  Search and Rescue personnel were able to secure the vehicle and assist the four occupants to safety.  A tow truck was also requested, and upon arrival pulled the vehicle safely back onto the road.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind everyone, when going out into the backcountry, whether in a vehicle or by foot always remember how ice can affect the activity your involved in. Please be extra cautious in these icy times of the year.

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National Take-Back Initiateve




Upcoming Take-Back Day

Saturday, October 28, 2017

615 S. 16th Ave.

Law & Justice Center

Bozeman, MT

10:00 am – 2:00 pm


Missouri River Drug Task Force is partnering with the Community-Coalition On Drug Awareness, the Elks Drug Awareness Program, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will take place on Saturday, October 28, 2017. This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.











In its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds—more than 4,050 tons—of pills!

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The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple calls from citizens who state they were contacted by the IRS and told to call 701-428-8115 or a warrant was going to be placed on them. This is a scam and you should not do anything they are asking you to do.  

The Sheriff’s Office has also been made aware of another scam. In this scam, people who are looking for rental homes are contacted and asked to provide personal information. The rentals are actually homes for sale in the local area, but they are not for rent. This is also a scam.

Please do not provide your personal information to any individual or organization unless you have fully researched their legitimacy.


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Gallatin River Ranch Rescue

On Sunday, October 15th, 2017, around 6:00 pm, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Division, the Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department, and an American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance responded to a backcountry rescue.  A 76-year-old Texas man most likely fell on a steep slope above the Gallatin River north of Manhattan.  The man ended up below some cliffs on a difficult to access stretch of the river.  The man had a head wound and was disoriented.  Various personal effects were scattered around the area.

A ground crew of rescuers accessed the man by hiking down steep, rough terrain.  Another crew launched a search and rescue boat from a nearby fishing access.  Due to the nature of the man’s injuries and an anticipated length of time to reach definitive medical treatment, responding EMS personnel requested a medical helicopter transport the man to the hospital.  Rescuers had to stomp down chest high grass next to the river to create a suitable landing zone for the helicopter.  A Reach Medical Helicopter was eventually able to land and fly the patient to Bozeman Health Hospital.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind people to enjoy outdoor activities with at least one partner.  If you have to go alone, tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.  You can run into trouble close to home the same as you can in the remote backcountry.

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California Wildfires Illustrate Challenges in Mass Notifications

GCEM Media Release

Release: 171014-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 599-7881

California Wildfires Illustrate Challenges in Mass Notifications

Bozeman, MT – Wildfires burning in Sonoma County, California have reinforced a good practice concerning emergency notifications for use here in Gallatin County.  Providing fast, accurate and clear emergency messages during emergencies is often a complicated process that officials here in Gallatin County spend a lot of time preparing for.  As reported by the Route Fifty on October 12th, Sonoma County officials debated the use of a federal system known as Wireless Emergency Alerts to notify individuals affected by the emerging wildfires. Sonoma officials ultimately decided not to use the system largely due to the inability to target only those people affected by the fires.

“Many people have the impression that officials can send emergency messages to anyone, but the reality is that we can’t do that in practice,” stated Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County Emergency Manager.  Mr. Lonergan added, “Wireless Emergency Alerts will be a great tool in the future, but today it is significantly hindered in several key area.  For example, using the Wireless Emergency Alert System we would have to send a message to every cell phone in Gallatin County even if the emergency only affected West Yellowstone.  To compound this, the messages are limited to 90 characters and can not include website URLs.”  These limitations make the system challenging to utilize and still provide a clear message while identifying who the message applies to.

Lonergan points out that the best way to ensure those in Gallatin County to receive emergency notifications when something affects you is to register in the Community Notification System at  The Community Notification System is utilized by all public safety agencies within Gallatin County and allows these officials to target messages geographically to those who are actually affected by the incident.  According to Lonergan, “When an emergency occurs we want to provide clear information quickly to those who are actually affected.  The last thing we want to do is inadvertently worry people who are not affected or not send a clear message that people understand.  The reality is that we need our community to register at to ensure we can quickly notify the right people using the methods they prefer.”


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Montana is Earthquake Country, Take a Moment to Prepare

GCEM Media ReleaseRelease:  171011-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Montana is Earthquake Country, Take a Moment to Prepare

Bozeman, MT – Montana has been reminded this year about being one of the more seismically active states in the country and October 19 is dedicated to reminding us about that reality.  At 10:19 am on October 19th a nationwide earthquake drill called the Great Montana Shakeout will occur.  Everyone in Gallatin County is encouraged to spend a couple minutes next Thursday with their co-workers, family and friends to practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” and review their emergency plans.

Facilitation material is available for a wide variety of organization types to support you at

Montana Earthquake Video

Great Montana Shakeout Flyer


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Avalanche South of Big Sky Claims Two Victims

(Madison County, Mont.) Monday Search and Rescue Volunteers from Gallatin County assisted the Madison County Sheriff’s Office with an avalanche recovery on Imp Peak.  The avalanche killed 23-year-old year Inge Perkins of Bozeman, MT.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Saturday morning, Oct 7th, Ms. Perkins and 27-year-old Hayden Kennedy hiked 6 miles from the Upper Taylor Fork trailhead to the north couloir of Imp Peak. Near the bottom of the couloir around 10,000’, they triggered an avalanche while ascending on skis with skins. The avalanche was 1-2’ deep at the crown, approximately 150’ wide, and 300’ long. The slope where the avalanche released was 38-45° steep with a north-northeast aspect.  (Additional details from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center)  Ms. Perkins was recovered by Rescuers after a probe pole search around 11:15 AM Monday.  (HAYDEN KENNEDY- Family Statement 10-10-17)

Due to the remote location of the mountain, a helicopter was used to access the search area.  According to Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson, Imp Peak is a rugged mountain with steep slopes that has received enough snow to create an early avalanche hazard.  Every year, outdoor enthusiasts are cautioned to be careful when exploring the backcountry in Montana since dangers like these exist throughout the fall, winter, and spring.     ##### 

Follow-up questions can be directed to:

Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson at 406-843-5301

Kennedy Family Media Contact is Penn Newhard at

Search and Rescue questions, Captain Jason Jarrett 406-580-1838

photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office:

Rescuers preparing for mission





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Victim of Vehicle Accident Identified

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, at approximately 6:25AM, the Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a citizen reporting a vehicle on its side in the ditch near 774 Reese Creek Road.  The caller stated the motor was cold and there was no one around the vehicle.

The Montana Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident.  Upon investigation, the driver was located away from the vehicle. The driver was deceased. The Trooper then requested a coroner to respond.

The Gallatin County Coroner’s Office identified the driver as 60-year-old Ellen Cerovski of Belgrade.  The cause and manner of death are under investigation.

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