Teton County Search & Rescue, WY, Raises Funds For Year-Round Helicopter

Saj Sheth-Voss | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Teton County Helicopter Search and Rescue Mission
TCSAR Helicopter Mission. | Image: Dirk Collins, tetoncountysar.org

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.

TCSAR rescuer next to helicopter in the Teton backcountry
Rescuer beside helicopter, previously leased for winter months. | Image: Dirk Collins, tetoncountysar.org

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.

TCSAR volunteers above patient, and below helicopter
TCSAR rescuers working with helicopter lines. | Image: Dirk Collins, tetoncountysar.org

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