Backcountry safety and stories of Chaffee County Search and Rescue missions

With backcountry enthusiasts on the rise and Chaffee County being home to 14,000 foot peaks, the Arkansas River and countless hiking, biking, four-wheel drive and snowmobile trails, including the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail, it is not uncommon for local search and rescue volunteers to be called out on more than 60 missions a year. On Thursday, January 28, GARNA (the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association) will offer a workshop where participants will learn more about tips to keep safe and be prepared in the winter months. Presenters Don Dubin and Dana Porter of Chaffee County Search and Rescue-South (CCSAR-S) will discuss winter backcountry tips, the proper equipment and essentials to have, and ways to keep safe and warm in the winter backcountry. Dana will share two past winter missions that CCSAR-S conducted. Both of these missions demonstrate how trouble ensued because of lack of preparation. Don has been involved with Colorado Search and Rescue operations for the past 30 years. Don is currently the training coordinator for CCSAR-S. He is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Technician, and Avalanche 1 rescue. Born and raised in Colorado he started climbing fourteeners in his teens and has been at it ever since. Dana has been a member of CCSAR-S for the past 7 years has served as Vice President, Training Coordinator, and new member coordinator. Dana is certified as a Wilderness EMT as well as Avalanche 1 rescue. Dana spends the majority of her time outdoors whether it be biking, backpacking, snowshoeing or skiing. Dana has great outdoor skills and often serves as incident commander for CCSAR-S missions. The workshop will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Discovery Room at the First Presbyterian Church, 7 Poncha Blvd. in Salida. The cost of the workshop is $5 for GARNA members, $7 for non-members. Pre-registration online is preferred at but if there is space, tickets will be available at the door. For more information, please call GARNA at 539-5106.

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