New clues in Missing Skier search

Sheriff Media HeaderBIG SKY-  Search and rescue efforts to find a skier missing since early March continued Thursday and Friday on Lone Peak.  A ski pole that may have belonged to the missing skier, Brad Gardner, was found Wednesday afternoon in the Lone Lake Cirque.  Initial searches of the area were hampered by continuous bad weather, its remote location, and the dangerous conditions caused by the characteristics of the cirque.  The area is surrounded by nearly vertical cliff walls and the avalanche danger remained extreme during the time of the initial search.  

Ground teams accessed the area Thursday morning and searched the cirque with dogs and a RECCO unit.  The RECCO unit is designed to help find people buried in avalanches.  The searchers found the cirque floor still buried in very deep snow.  Searches probed the snow with nine foot long poles and were unable to find the bottom.  The snow was also extremely hard, heavy, and compact.  Searchers located another ski pole about half way up a cliff face but were unable to but were not able to access the location without using ropes.  Searchers were unable to locate any further signs of Gardner.

A search of the cirque was conducted from the air on Friday morning.  A U.S. Forest Service helicopter with Gallatin County Search and Rescue personnel aboard spent over an hour and a half combing the cliffs and areas not covered in snow inside the cirque.  They were able to get close enough to identify and photograph the ski pole on the cliff face.  The pole was also similar to the poles Gardner is thought to have been skiing with when he disappeared.  

Searchers are optimistic that the warm weather forecast for the next week will help melt the abundant snow still in the cirque.  Searches will continue in the cirque and elsewhere over the coming weeks as conditions and new information changes. 

The Sheriff’s office would like to caution citizens that the terrain in the cirque is treacherous.  Along with the dangers inherent in a remote, snow covered area, search teams have already had to deal with a steady barrage of rocks falling from the cirque walls.  The Sheriff’s office does not wish to see a well meaning effort result in another rescue.  “Safety is our primary concern now.  We want to bring Mr. Gardner home as safely and as soon as possible.  And we’ll do that, without putting anyone at undue risk.” said Lt. Jason Jarrett of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, adding “While our searchers train for dangerous situations, most citizens don’t.  We are hoping to prevent any further injury or even another death.”

 “Once we locate Mr. Gardner we are required by law to secure the scene, treat it with respect and care and conduct an investigation to try and determine cause of death, “ continued Jarrett,”  If the scene is compromised by well-meaning individuals, we may not be able to determine cause of death.  We need to know that…for the sake of the family, the community and to fulfill our requirements under the law.


Madison River Rescue

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On Sunday, July 07, 2011, at approximately 8:45 pm, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue, and the Three Forks Marshalls responded to a water rescue on the Madison River.  An inflatable kayak struck a partially submerged cottonwood tree in the water and capsized upstream from the cobblestone fishing access ejecting the two female passengers.  The females were reported in the water and pinned to the tree.  The women were able to free themselves from the tree and get out of the water on the west bank of the River.  With help of local land owners and Deputies the females were located and extracted by vehicle from the west side of the river.  There were no reported injuries from this incident.   

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind boaters to not take the proper safety equipment including throw bags, life vests and first aid kits when enjoying the river.  As always don’t underestimate the power of the current.  Even and simple and familiar trip on the river can turn dangerous without the proper equipment, respect for the water and knowledge of the potential hazards. 


Monument Meadow Rescue

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(West Yellowstone, Montana)  Excellent inter-agency cooperation resulted in a back-country rescue involving an injured horseback rider this afternoon just outside of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.


          Shortly before 2:00 o’clock this afternoon Gallatin County 9-1-1 received a call from the manager of the Covered Wagon Ranch, north of West Yellowstone in the Gallatin Canyon.


          A 64-year old female guest of the ranch from Hawaii on a guided horseback ride had fallen from her horse suffering head injuries.  The wrangler on the ride, in contact with the ranch by radio, reported the incident. 


The party was located near Monument Mountain, an approximately three to three and a half hour ride from the trail-head.


          A six-member horse and rider team from Search and Rescue staged at the Sage Creek Trailhead for a rescue.  Since there were no LifeFlight or other Helicopters available in the entire region, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies enlisted the help of a U.S. Forest Service Helicopter in Cody, Wyoming.  A U.S. Park Service Ranger who is also a paramedic and member of Gallatin County SAR was picked up at the West Yellowstone Airport by the chopper to care for the patient.


          The patient, complaining of head and back pain, was picked up at the Monument Meadow area at just after 5:30 this afternoon and flown to the Sage Creek Trailhead. From there the patient was taken by Big Sky Fire Dept. ambulance to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital at just before 6:00 this afternoon.


          “Thanks to the Forest Service chopper and the Park Service paramedic, we were able to avoid a long all-night rescue,” said GCSO Deputy Mark Murphy, Incident Commander on the rescue.  “It would have been a difficult, long and very uncomfortable ride out for the patient.  Instead, she’s getting the care she needs in Bozeman.”


          Deputy Murphy says radio communication also played a key role in today’s wilderness rescue.


          Those traveling in the Montana back-country, even for an afternoon, are advised to carry some form of communication, such as a radio or a satellite phone.      



Lone Mountain Search Continues

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July 10, 2011

The search for the missing skier continued this last weekend utilizing K-9 search teams from around the region.  A total of ten K-9 teams were brought in to assist in the search from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.  Over 40 volunteers of the Gallatin and Madison County Sheriff Offices Search and Rescue searched for two days in an attempt to locate the Big Sky skier.

24 year old Brad Gardner was last seen on Wednesday, March 9 when he told friends that he was planning to ski solo in the Chippewa Ridge area of Lone Mountain.  An intense search involving air and ground resources from Gallatin and Madison County’s Search and Rescue teams combed the area but failed to turn up any evidence of Mr. Gardner’s whereabouts.

The search was suspended on March 28 due to conditions.  Snow had continued to accumulate in early spring storms.  Many areas could not be searched and still allow for the safety of the search teams.

Since that time, some air and ground searches on a limited basis were conducted.  Conditions on the mountain have made searching difficult with the heavy snow Montana has experienced over the last winter.

“The search this weekend was designed to add the expertise of the dog teams to enhance search capabilities.  Unfortunately, the search teams were not able to uncover additional information on Mr. Gardner,” stated Incident Commander Deputy Ian Parker.

The search has been able to cover large areas but still more remains to be checked.  The search will continue into the future and expand into other areas.  “We intend to continue the search until Brad is found.  We will not give up in order to bring closure to the family,” stated Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell.

Madison County Sheriff Dave Schenk echoed this sentiment. “We have a mission to find Brad and we are certain with the quality of the searchers involved, we will.”

Members from both the Gallatin and Madison County Sheriff’s Offices wish to express their appreciation to the K-9 search teams, the Gallatin and Madison County search and rescue teams, the Big Sky Resort, Yellowstone Club and the many Big Sky area businesses who have been extremely supportive of the search efforts.

Compliance Checks


On June 22nd 2011 the Gallatin County Sheriff`s Office conducted alcohol compliance checks in the West Yellowstone area. A total of 12 businesses were contacted using an underage buyer attempting to purchase alcohol under the control and direct supervision of undercover officers.

The following businesses passed the compliance checks:
Wild West Pizzaria, Stage Coach, Food Roundup, White Markerplace, 191 Exxon, Corner Conoco, Happy Hour Bar, Food Mart, Bullwinkles Bar and Liquor Store.

The following 3 businesses failed the compliance checks:
Econosmart Phillips 66, Supersave Chevron, The Branch Restaurant and Bar

Businesses that failed the checks will be reported to the Department of Revenue for state-mandated actions against their respective licenses. The individuals that sold the alcohol at each respective business were issued a citation at the time the check was completed at each business.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Gallatin County DUI Task Force and local police departments would like to remind each business that sells alcohol to appropriately check identification for alcohol sales. Refusing to sell alcohol to underage buyers is a fundamental key to keeping our community and its youth safe. Classes are offered by the Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County (ADSGC), in conjunction with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office every month for a nominal fee of $15 per attendee. Individuals or business can register attendees by calling ADSGC at 406-586-5493.

Deputy’s overtime wages incurred by conducting the checks were paid for by the Gallatin County DUI Task Force.

Gallatin River Forecast to hit highest level this year

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Media Release

Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395

Bozeman, MT – Residents along the Gallatin River are encouraged to closely monitor the Gallatin River through this weekend.  The current forecast for the Gallatin River is predicting that the river will reach its highest level so far this year by the middle of the weekend.  Water over the road is already present in Gallatin Gateway and everyone is reminded to take the necessary actions to protect their property before flooding occurs.  Once flooding occurs it is to late to prevent damage.

Additional information is available at


Burglary spree in Bozeman


Since June 1, 2011, our Bozeman police Officers have responded to 20 burglaries and attempted burglaries throughout the city.  These burglaries have occurred at night with the primary mode being entry into unlocked garages, prying open doors or breaking of windows.  These burglaries occurred during the night.  In some cases, nothing was taken but in others cash, alcohol, jewelry and tools have been taken.  Our officers are patrolling your neighborhoods with increased vehicle, foot and bicycle patrols.  However, we still need your help.  Here are some tips to help prevent your home from being the next target.  We also ask that you report anything you may see or hear that appears unusual or out of place.  If you have information regarding these burglaries, call Crimestoppers at 586-1131 or email us at



Areas burglarized:


June 4

1000 South Black


June 6

400 North Bozeman


June 8

1100 North 7th

100 South 10th

400 South 5th


June 10

3400 West Ravalli

400 South Willson


June 13

100 South Grand

100 West Babcock

400 South 3rd

400 West Koch

100 West Babcock

400 South 6th


June 16

200 North 7th

600 West Mendenhall


June 17

200 North 7th

200 East Story


June 20

200 East Story

110 South 11th


Burglary Prevention Tips:

·         Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars. Thieves are also quick to spot weak locks that may be easily forced open. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one inch throw and reinforced strike plates held in place with three inch screws. All windows should have window locks.

·         Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or a wooden dowel in the track and install vertical bolts. These will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.

·         Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on your automatic garage door opener for security.

·         Create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights, radios and TV’s. Making your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home, will deter criminals.

·         Keep the perimeter of your home well lit.  Installing low voltage outdoor lighting is a cost-effective way to discourage intruders, as well as highlight a house.

·         Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and newspapers while you are away so delivered items do not accumulate. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place to give the appearance you are at home.   Keep your shades and blinds up and curtains open to maintain a normal, everyday appearance in your residence.

·         Never leave a message on your telephone answering machine telling people that you are away from home. A message that you will return at a certain time leaves your home vulnerable in the interim.

·         Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from entrances and walkways. While large, ornate hedges may be beautiful, they also provide a hiding place for burglars who need only a minute to break in through a window or door.



A group of church kids will be filling sandbags to give to citizens of Bozeman and Gallatin County who are in need of them.  Sandbags can be picked up beginning at 2 pm on Friday, May 10, at the LDS Church parking lot, 2915 Colter Avenue on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, contact Brett May 580-6656.

Big Sky Natural Resource Council joins FireSafe Montana and holds FREE Community BBQ to recognize June as Wildfire Preparedness Month

Big Sky Natural Resource Council joins FireSafe Montana and holds FREE Community BBQ to recognize June as Wildfire Preparedness Month.

Thursday June 23, 2011 community event will allow Big Sky residents to learn how they can prepare their property for wildland fires, review the completed Big Sky Forest Stewardship Plan, meet local foresters, and much more.

 What:  The Big Sky Natural Resource Council is hosting a FREE community BBQ for Big Sky residents. The event will include: a wildland fire preparedness message, unveiling of the Big Sky Forest Stewardship Plan, a forestry trade show, Smokey Bear, fire trucks, and much more… All community members and public are welcome to attend. The goal of this event is to help landowners learn how they can prepare their property for wildland fires, hear what the Big Sky Natural Resource Council is doing and review the Forest Stewardship Plan.

 When:  Thursday June 23, 2011, 5:00 – 8:00pm

 Where:  Big Sky Town Center Park, Big Sky, MT 59716

 Who:  Big Sky Natural Resource Council, FireSafe Montana, MSU Extension, Northern Rocky Mountain RC&D, Men@Work, Big Sky Tree Removal, US Forest Service, Big Sky Fire Department, Yellowstone Club, Moonlight Basin, Big Sky Town Center, Big Sky Community Corporation, Big Sky Owners Association, Merrill Lynch-Bank of America Corporation, Big Sky Institute, and Jack Creek Preserve Foundation.

 Visit for more information on the Healthy Forest Initiative

or contact Crystal Hagerman at (406) 209-0344 or