Missing Christmas tree hunters – December 22, 1998

Missing Christmas tree hunters

National Park Service Morning Report

December 22, 1998

By National Park Service

Division of Ranger Activities

Washington, D.C.

On December 5th, eight-year-old Derrick Engebretson became separated from his father and grandfather while the three of them hunted for a Christmas tree in the Winema National Forest just south of the park. The park provided search and rescue equipment as requested during the early phases of the search; park personnel were subsequently requested after the Forest Service assumed responsibility for management of the search on December 13th. Ranger/medic Pete Reinhardt and ranger/ski patrol coordinator John Broward responded with members of the park’s volunteer ski patrol to help with the coordination of more than 100 volunteers in a labor-intensive grid search of rugged terrain covered with four feet of snow.

The operation was hampered by temperatures in the single digits. At the time of the report on Saturday, it appeared that the search would be terminated. Media coverage has been extensive. Volunteers included employees from many local businesses, school teachers, high school students, Oregon National Guard and Air Guard personnel, and employees from the NPS, Forest Service and BLM. Local businesses and individuals donated tons of food and clothing to searchers. [Ken Hay, Safety Officer, CRLA, 12/19]