ESTES PARK, Colo. (KDVR) — The group tasked with rescuing visitors in Rocky Mountain National Park needs a little help themselves.
“The vehicle that the park has been using almost as their mobile command center for search and rescue is really old,” Rocky Mountain Conservancy Executive Director Estee Rivera told FOX31.
Now, RMC is trying to raise $75,000 for a new, modern search and rescue vehicle.
Their current vehicle is a 1993 ambulance with 120,000 miles on it. It was not built to be a search and rescue vehicle but has gone out on every call for the past 28 years, often in very remote areas of the park.
It is used to transport search and rescue crews and equipment, serves as the communication hub and is used as a base camp for crews. Now, however, the aging vehicle simply can’t keep up.
“It literally has not started,” Rivera said. “That’s exactly what we don’t want in an emergency.”
The Rocky Mountain Conservancy is the park’s non-profit partner. They said RMNP gets an average of 175 calls for help each year. It has the third highest search and rescue call volume of all the national parks.
“As visitation goes up over time in the park, the need for search and rescue increases,” Rivera said.
“This isn’t the sort of thing you can just go and buy. It’s got to be custom built out. So we’re purchasing the vehicle for the park but also everything from decals and radio and also special equipment so it can go in snow or inclement weather situations, which is also when we see an uptick in search and rescue incidents,” Rivera said.
According to Rivera, RMNP also uses an old bread delivery truck for its mobile command in fire situations.