In 2010, as in years past, Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR) has continued to provide their life-saving services to the community while working in concert with local law enforcement. While 2010 has brought many changes, SSAR’s dedication to the safety and welfare of the individuals who live and recreate in the Superstition Wilderness Area and beyond has remained a constant.
2010 was a year of achievements and expansion of services for SSAR. While SSAR has helped law enforcement in urban situations in the past; this year they established a dedicated Urban Search and Rescue Team that has assisted the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) on numerous occasions. The establishment of an emergency phone number (480-620-0299) to better serve the community has also proved to be a great success. In addition, SSAR has hosted a radio segment several times a month during which they discuss and provide outdoor sporting safety.
While SSAR continually trains its members in wilderness search and rescue techniques, this past year they additionally trained 16 members in urban search and rescue through the Department of Homeland Security CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program; eight members through the Apache Junction Fire District wilderness fire program and 10 members were trained in technical rescue. They also assisted the federal government in maintaining state parks by once again participating in the Annual Grand Canyon Clean-up. They are also presently assisting in the fund raising effort to keep the Lost Dutchman State Park open.
SSAR continues to grid search the Superstition Wilderness for four treasure hunters that went missing this past year. Conducting a grid search requires well-placed searchers that move slowly and methodically through designated grid sections in order to uncover clues as to the missing person’s movements. Grid searching an area helps to locate items that may have been passed over or missed during the course of broader search efforts such as torn clothing or items that may have been dropped by the missing individuals. Discoveries made during the course of a grid search can lead to a possible location or provide a point of direction for additional grid searches.
In addition to grid searching, SSAR is also GPS (Global Positioning System) mapping and taking photos of historical mines, campsites, dwellings, springs and caves (excluding current camps) to create a database of updated information in an effort to make the Superstition Wilderness safer for all future outdoor enthusiasts. Once this effort is complete, it will be available on the SSAR website along with up-to-date maps.
Going forward, SSAR’s goal for the New Year is to obtain a land donation that will enable them to erect on office/warehouse where they can store their gear and supplies so they are even better prepared to assist the community when needed.
SSAR thanks all the citizens of Pinal County for their ongoing support and friendship and extends their wishes for a happy, safe and blessed New Year to all.