TAHOE CITY, Calif. (Dec. 9, 2021) – The Tahoe Fund granted $30,250 to Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Hasty Team for critical equipment upgrades. These two regional volunteer search and rescue teams, who collectively responded to over 120 missions last year, now have new tools to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of future rescues. 

“These volunteer rescue teams put in grueling work in all manner of weather and terrain and they are prepared to do it 24/7. Part of being prepared is having the most up-to-date equipment and the Tahoe Fund is happy to make that happen,” said Cory Ritchie, Tahoe Fund vice chair. “We are incredibly grateful for their life-saving contributions toward safe and sustainable recreation in Tahoe.”

Photo courtesy of Tahoe Fund

Since 1976, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue has been conducting fast, thorough, and safe rescues while educating the public on backcountry safety to reduce the number of incidents. The team is made up of EMTs, emergency room doctors and nurses, firefighters, ski patrollers, paramedics, and experienced backcountry skiers and snowmobilers who volunteer their time to help others.

“The Tahoe Fund grant allowed us to purchase a new set of GPS tracking radios to keep up with the growth of our volunteer team,” said Andrew Oesterreicher, Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue board member. “With the new radios, we can ping the location of a team member every time they key the mic. This provides increased safety to our team members in the field and allows those at the command post to keep a log of what areas have been searched and by whom.”

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Hasty Team was founded in 1971 and is comprised of non-paid professionals in the Northern Nevada area. The team specializes in backcountry, mountain, dive, swiftwater, helicopter hoist, and technical rope rescues. This grant will provide the team with 25 mountain rescue kits, 15 new radios, and new technical rescue ropes to improve the capability and efficiency of future rescues.

“The generous grant from the Tahoe Fund has allowed us to purchase lightweight rescue gear for our Mountain Rescue Technicians and other equipment team members need to perform at a high level,” said Hasty team member Sas Hadden.

“Having everyone on the team outfitted and equipped identically has helped us tremendously and made the technical rescues we undertake safer and more efficient. After serving the citizens of Northern Nevada and California for over 50 years, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Hasty Team recently voted to pursue accreditation with the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA), and this grant will help the team significantly throughout our upcoming MRA accreditation tests and, ultimately, will help us maintain the high level of technical proficiency that has come to be expected from the Hasty team.”

The various search and rescue teams throughout the Tahoe Basin share the same goals and often end up on the same calls, particularly during searches that occur during winter storms. The teams have started training and collaborating together on a more regular basis and are expanding their regional approach to search and rescue.

Learn more about the Tahoe Fund and projects it supports at www.tahoefund.org.

The Tahoe Fund is a nonprofit founded in 2010 to support environmental improvement projects that restore lake clarity, promote sustainable recreation, create healthier forests, improve transportation and inspire greater stewardship of the region. Through the generous support of donors, the Tahoe Fund has leveraged more than $3 million in private funds to secure more than $50 million in public funds for more than 60 environmental projects. The projects include new sections of the Lake Tahoe Bikeway, restoration of watersheds, removal of aquatic invasive species, forest health projects, public beach improvements, and stewardship programs. Learn more at www.tahoefund.org.