Alan Hobbler, Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR) manager, told SPIN 2020 was record setting with 54 callouts for the rescue organization, and this year is likely to be much busier based on what he’s currently seeing.
In the last eight weeks there have already been eight callouts, which is busier than normal for KSAR.
“We had a slower winter, but it seems like now that it’s spring people are getting back out there.”
He said he thinks the influx of calls are due to more people heading into the backcountry since the pandemic began. While the jump in calls for this time of year is normal, Hobbler said more people are starting to run into trouble.
“We’re getting the injured mountain bikers and ATV’ers. I think it’s because people are getting on their equipment for the first time this year and they aren’t in the best shape or quite set up for it yet.”
As for the quiet winter, Hobbler acknowledged it could be because there were fewer visitors and ski pass sales compared to non-pandemic times.
“It’s really hard to pinpoint our call volume. Some years in Sun Peaks we get a dozen calls in one winter season,” Hobbler said. “This year though I don’t think we had any calls to Sun Peaks, other than to the village a couple times.”
Meanwhile, the rest of B.C.’s Search and Rescue (SAR) organizations are also on track for another busy year with 339 callouts in 2021 already.
Last year saw a total of 1,830 callouts in B.C., nearly doubling the number of 2018 callouts of 994.
Hobbler recommended people who plan on getting into the backcountry should check out www.adventuresmart.ca and use recommendations from there based on their specific activities.
If you or someone you know is in need of SAR in B.C., dial 9-1-1 and remember SAR services in B.C. are free of charge.