VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – North Shore Rescue is seeing a “significant” drop in calls in 2019 after back-to-back record-setting years.
Mike Danks leads the team of highly-skilled volunteers who respond to rescue calls, like lost and injured hikers and campers, on the North Shore and sometimes across B.C. He says this year his crew is only at about 60 rescue calls, when at this time last year the numbers had hit the 90s.
“It’s been a pretty significant drop this year, which has been a real pleasant surprise, to be honest,” he says. “What it’s directly attributed to – I’m not sure. I hope that the answer is education has been working.”
North Shore Rescue saw record calls in 2015, 2016, and in 2017 – but last year was the highest ever reported.
“Last year was our busiest year-to-date with 144 calls, which was a tough one for us. It’s been a pleasant surprise this summer,” he says. “I don’t know what the formula is here that’s working.”
Danks notes the change isn’t because there are fewer people out in the backcountry – the trails have been busy this year, and his team is ready for anything.
“I’d love to say that it’s all about the education and it’s working and people are being very safe, but we do have people that get out on the trails [and] are very unprepared.”
NSR has had crews patrolling the Grouse Grind this summer, and similar preventative measures mean the team often heads off calls before they even happen.
“If you look back on our history, we do see years that are a little bit slower than others and as a group of volunteers, we do need to be appreciative of that,” he says, adding: “It doesn’t really change the way we’re operating, we’re still ready to go.”