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                                                                                                                                Page 8 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM July 2021 Community
Lakes Region Search and Rescue is Always Ready to Assist
 By Donna RhoDes
When someone goes miss- ing in the wilds of New Hamp- shire, members of the Fish and Game Department are quick to rush to the scene to start looking for them but many times they also seek assistance from teams of dedicated volunteers for the search. Among those volunteers are Lakes Region Search and Rescue, which was started in 2019 to aid in such missions in the central part of the state.
Erik Thatcher of New Hamp- ton was a founder of LRSAR and said it was his previous participation in other volunteer search crews that inspired him to form one in the Lakes Region where there was no such organi- zation.
“We have a cool structure for searches here in the state and it just seemed the right thing to do, to give back to the [hiking] com- munity,” he said.
LRSAR works primarily with N.H. Conservation Officer
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Founded in 2019, Lakes Region Search and Rescue is now comprised of more than 70 trained volunteers who are ready to help those in need throughout the woods and mountains of central New Hampshire.
but in their first year alone LRSAR provided a total of 100 searchers for 25 rescues for other central areas. So far this year the volunteers from LSAR have par- ticipated in only a few searches and hope the downward trend will continue into the summer and fall hiking seasons.
By far the hardest search in Thatcher’s memory was one that took place two years ago in the Pemi Wilderness Area near Franconia Notch. At that time a 70-year-old hiker from Massa- chusetts was reported missing in that area so LRSAR joined Fish and Game and teams of volun- teers to scour the rugged terrain in a line search, hoping for the best outcome but prepared for the worst. At the end of their first search day Thatcher said they came out of the woods and met the missing man’s distraught wife at the trailhead.
When she approached to ask if they had seen any sign of her
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 Bruce Morse, helping cover his response area from the Belknap and Sandwich Mountain ranges up to the southern reaches of the White Mountain National Forest. The group typically assists as far north as the Kancamagus High- way but will go elsewhere around the state when more people are needed for an extensive search.
LRSAR has grown rapidly since its inception in 2019, going from 30 to now more than 70 members who are willing to pitch in to help find persons lost in rugged terrain. Last year they were able to extend their original three-season response plans to include winter mountain rescues for terrain as far up as the tree
Thatcher said that in the
past three years they have taken part in many search and rescue missions, the most common of which have been on Mount Chocorua trails and in the Con- way area. Fortunately there have been few search and rescue calls in the Belknap Mountain Range,
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