Drinking Horse Rescue

On March 29, 2017 at 3:06 PM the Gallatin County 911 Center received a call about an injured hiker on the Drinking Horse trail. The caller reported that a 50 year old female had fallen and hurt her lower leg and could not walk any further. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team, American Medical Response, Bridger Fire and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched and responded to the area. The caller reported that the patient was halfway up the “easy” trail.

A paramedic from AMR hiked up to the patient prior to Search and Rescue’s arrival for patient assessment. Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team hiked to the patient with a one wheeled liter. The patient was found to be in good health but with a lower leg injury. The patient was packaged in the one wheeled liter and brought to the trailhead by SAR and AMR members. The 50 year old Bozeman resident was taken to Bozeman Deaconess Health Services by private vehicle for further treatment.

New World Gulch Search

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

On March 14, 2017 at 9:00 PM a Bozeman, Montana residence called the Gallatin County Dispatch Center and reported that his wife and sister-in-law were overdue from a hike. The reporting party stated that his 25 year old wife and 22 year old sister-in-law had sent him a text around 3:00 PM telling him that they were going for a hike up New World Gulch. The reporting party told a deputy from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office that they always returned before dark. It was unknown if the two women had any provisions for an extended stay, or food and water.

A deputy from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office located the missing women’s vehicle parked at the New World Gulch trailhead. There was no one around the vehicle. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team was activated and responded to the scene along with Reach Air Ambulance. Members of the Search and Rescue Team used teams of skiers, tracked four wheelers and snowmobiles to search the area. Reach searched the area by air.

At approximately 11:05 PM Reach notified the incident command that they had located two individuals halfway between Mystic Lake and the Mystic Lake Forest Service Cabin on the west side of the lake. The two subjects appeared to be signaling to them by waving their arms and using the lights from their cell phones. The two subjects appeared to be uninjured.

The team of skiers continued up the trail to the coordinates provided by Reach while the mechanized teams were sent to the Sourdough trailhead with other Search and Rescue personnel. At 1:20 AM on March 15, 2017 members of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team located the missing women at the coordinates that were provided by Reach Air. The searchers found the women to be cold but in good health and uninjured. The searchers and women warmed up in the Forest Service cabin and then the women were brought out by snowmobile.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind everyone that recreating in the backcountry this time of year can be deceiving. Temperatures can be in the 60’s during the day but still drop below freezing after sundown. As always, if you are recreating in the backcountry make sure you take the proper equipment and enough provisions to spend a night or two in the woods if need be.


Community Presentation on Megafires Coming to Bozeman

GCEM Media Release

Release: 170314-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Community Presentation on Megafires Coming to Bozeman

Bozeman, MT – On April 7th Bozeman will be the first community in Montana to host Dr. Paul Hessburg’s Era of Megafires presentation.  The Blue Mountain Eagle described Dr. Hessburg’s presentation as, “equal parts cautionary tale and call to action, mixing decades worth of research with short video clips to show how and why large fires erupt, the devastation they cause and what people must do to contain them in the future.”  The presentation is focused for community members and illustrated with examples from communities around the West similar to Gallatin County.

Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County Emergency Manager explains, “This is a fortunate opportunity for our community to have Dr. Hessburg join us and I encourage everyone to attend.  If you have an interest in large wildfires, this is an opportunity to come learn alongside your local fire officials.”  Montana DNRC Forester Erik Warrington describes Era of Megafires as, “This is, if not, the best crafted messages and format conveying the reality of the natural and human dimensions of wildfire occurrence around our communities. This presentation is not a lecture from the scientific community, nor is it a “fear of fire” message, it is both an ecological and social story of our forests, our communities, and how they inter-mingle. It is a message that community citizens and decision makers need to hear.”

Era of Megafires
Friday, April 7, 2017
4:00-5:30 PM
Bozeman Hilton Garden Inn
2023 Commerce Way
Bozeman, MT 59715
No Cost, No Registration – Just Show Up

Era of Megafires Trailer

If a Tree Doesn’t Get You Gravity Will

(Gallatin County, Mont.) On Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash on the Two Top Trail approximately 10 miles southwest of the Town of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 48-year-old male from Idaho, had sustained a broken back when he landed hard after attempting a jump off a seven-foot cornice.
Personnel from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue West Yellowstone Division, Forest Service, and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District responded.

Rescuers met the injured party at the trailhead where he was waiting, after being transported off the mountain by his friends. The male was loaded into the back of the ambulance and transported to the hospital in Rexburg, Idaho. He was later transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for additional medical services.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful when recreating off trail and to know your limitations. A fun adventure into the amazing backcountry areas we have access to can quickly turn into an emergency situation. Always remember to ride with a partner and carry a reliable means of communication in case of an emergency.
Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.

Beehive Basin Rescue

On March 9th, at approximately 9:10 PM, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a concerned father who reported that his adult son had gone hiking in the Beehive Basin area around noon and had not returned. The caller said he had recently spoken to his son by phone and his son seemed to be in a high anxiety state and was mumbling.  The son said he was tired, very cold, and unable to start a fire.  His light also stopped working.  Based on the conversation he had had with his son, the father felt like he was in need of assistance.

Due to his stressed condition, the time of day, and the current falling snow the Gallatin County Search and Rescue was requested. A hasty team was formed and sent to the trailhead where a Gallatin County Deputy met them at the son’s vehicle.  As SAR personnel arrived at the trailhead to begin the search the caller’s son walked out from the trailhead.  He appeared tired and hungry but, in good condition.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind everyone that weather conditions this time of year can change quickly so be prepared with communication, warm clothing and water before you venture out into the backwoods.

Spring Flood Season Approaching

GCEM Media Release

Release:  170310-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Spring Flood Season Approaching

Bozeman, MT – Residents in Gallatin County are encouraged to prepare their property for spring flooding.  Southwest Montana is rapidly approaching spring runoff and once this occurs the possibility of flooding at any point will be present.  Officials recommend property owners prepare for flooding before spring runoff starts.  Once the runoff begins flowing it is often difficult to properly prepare your property and if flooding does occur, it is to late to protect your property.

Gallatin County recommends that residents in areas prone to flooding talk with their insurance agents about flood insurance.  If someone is considering flood insurance, now is the time to do it and have it take effect in time.  Flood insurance has a 30 day waiting period after purchasing a policy before your policy becomes active.  So don’t wait until it floods to get insurance, it will be too late.

Local officials also recommend preparing waterways around your property so they can accommodate as much water as possible.  We recommend clearing ditches and culverts of any debris that may have formed over the winter.  If larger projects are warranted on waterways, a permit will be required so start the process soon.

Residents that routinely see their property flooded should identify the materials they will need, such as sandbags, to properly protect themselves and stockpile it ahead of time.  Once flooding occurs it is often difficult to procure the proper supplies fast enough, so we recommend preparing ahead of time.

Additional information on flooding is available at: https://www.readygallatin.com/community-resources/preparedness-information/flooding-in-gallatin-county/.


Woman Identified in Fatal Car Crash Near Logan

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

On March 7, 2017, at  11:35 AM, the Gallatin County 911 Center received a report of a head-on car collision just east of Logan near miler marker 6 on Frontage Road. The Sheriff’s Office, Highway Patrol, American Medical Response, Three Forks Fire and Ambulance, Manhattan Fire and Police Departments and Reach Air Ambulance all responded.

38-year-old Nicole Anne Pierce of Manhattan, MT. was pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.  The Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and a Deputy Coroner from the Sheriff’s Office is conducting the death investigation.

Fire in the Snow

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Saturday night March 4th, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded to Brackett Creek Rd north of Bridger Bowl to assist the Bridger Canyon Fire Department. A passerby had called to report a fire on the ridge east of the Brackett Creek trailhead. The responding deputy met with Bridger Fire Command who expressed concerns with access to the fire and was unable to get their Humvee up the access road. The fire department requested the use of SAR assets to reach the fire.

Search and Rescue volunteers transported fire fighters to the location of the fires via Weasel Creek Rd on snowmobiles. Fire fighters assessed the fires and determined them to be smoldering slash piles. The fires were a safe distance from other combustibles.

Mystic Lake Rescue

(Gallatin County Mont.)  Friday evening at 5:40 Gallatin County 911 received a call of a male having breathing problems at the Mystic Lake Cabin south of Bozeman. A local trail runner came across a 48 year-old Sacramento, CA. man  hiking with his 16-year-son.  The hiker believed he might be having an asthma attack from the smoke he inhaled during the night but also appeared to have traveled further into the backcountry than his he was prepared for. The local man directed the two to remain at the cabin while he ran down to cell coverage and called for help.  At 7:15 P.M. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers responded using tracked four wheelers and snowmobiles. The male and his son were transported by snowmobile to a waiting American Medical Response ambulance at about 8:00.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind backcountry enthusiasts to know their limits and to pack for contingencies. You can very quickly go from the comforts of town to the splendid isolation of the backcountry. Remember to bring any medication necessary and contingency items in the event you find yourself stuck in the backcountry for an additional 24 hours. Travel with a partner, tell someone where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and when to expect your return.