Success! After two months of public fundraising, Teton County Search and Rescue (‘TCSAR’), WY, has finally reached its goal for ‘Mission Critical,’ pursuing a year-round helicopter. This achievement enables TCSAR to conduct successful rescue missions in the summer months across the formidable terrain of the Tetons.
Previously, TSCAR leased the helicopter from October to May, and in the summer, it was used by Grand Teton National Park and the U.S. Forest Service. This left the team ill-equipped for much of the year when a helicopter makes responding to critical emergencies safer and faster.
In recent years, the number of rescue calls in Teton County has been increasing, especially during the summer months. In 2021, TCSAR received 105 calls, 35 requiring a helicopter. The acquisition of a rescue ship is now more critical than ever. The growing number of missions is impeded by traffic congestion as more people visit the area and surrounding parks. Additionally, even in contracted months, helicopter availability during extended wildfire seasons cannot be guaranteed.
Not only will this achievement serve TCSAR’s response to life-threatening injuries in the backcountry, but the purchase of the helicopter can be used as a public resource in the event of natural disasters and other emergencies
Teton County Search and Rescue looked to the community to help fill this need, starting Mission Critical—the namesake indicating the urgency of the cause. The total cost was budgeted at $7.2 million, with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office covering the $600,000 annual operating costs. Mission Critical still required over $1.25 million in public funding. After its launch in mid-March, Mission Critical received 1,200 donations and reached its goal on May 18, 2023.
On May 24, 2023, the TCSAR foundation hosted a celebration for the community that had helped make this achievement possible. Volunteers conducted a short-haul operation of a helicopter lift, and local suppliers provided food and beverages.