Colorado Mountain Rescue History Center

In Public by Colorado Search and Rescue Association (CSAR)

“A sophisticated understanding of the past is one of the most powerful tools we have for shaping the future” – John T. Seaman Jr. and George David Smith

There is an urgent need to collect and save the documents, records, and artifacts from the forty-plus Mountain Rescue Teams in the State and make them available to researchers and mission coordinators around the state. We can tell you first hand that better management of missions truly saves lives. Every year, among the 3000+ search and rescue missions that occur in the State of Colorado, the knowledge and experience from the different team mission coordinators make the difference between a person’s life and death. Increasing our knowledge and ability to anticipate the movements of subjects in the field through the study of past mission reports and records will make the difference. If we don’t act now to retrieve and organize these records, much will be lost.

What is the Colorado Mountain Rescue History Center?

Outside the new building

This facility will serve as a center showcasing artifacts, equipment, and documents collected from all of the Mountain Rescue Teams in Colorado. The history center will function as both a museum for those interested in an integral part of Colorado history and an archival facility for historical documents. This History Center is strategically located along the I-70 corridor at the Evergreen Parkway exit just 15 minutes from the Denver metro area allowing easy access for all visitors. Being able to see and touch the history of the Colorado Mountain Rescue Teams through mission reports, photos and equipment used on real missions in the past will help those within the Colorado community understand the full and rich history that is Colorado Mountain Search and Rescue. From former patients to visitors from out-of-state, to rescuers young and old, we want to share that history and culture that connects us. These artifacts, this culture, and heritage, were directly involved in the saving and changing of thousands of lives over nearly 75 years of mountain search and rescue.

The first organizational meeting with the new Board of Directors

In addition to the goal of preserving and displaying the history of mountain rescue, this facility will provide the opportunity to serve as a platform for creating new and exciting educational programs that fulfill the objectives of all mountain rescue teams to teach individuals and groups safe mountaineering practices and safety in the mountains. 

Why create this History Center?

For the past 75 years, the thousands of volunteers at the forty-plus Mountain Rescue Teams in Colorado have provided mountain search and rescue services to the citizens and visitors of Colorado.  Some of the founders and early members of these organizations from the 1950s and 1960s are still involved with many of the Colorado Mountain Rescue Teams and this may be the last opportunity to collect and preserve the artifacts, documents and personal knowledge that these individuals have about the early history of mountain rescue in Colorado. This newly expanded facility will house and protect these documents and artifacts collected from the volunteers around the state who have put blood, sweat, and tears into saving lives in Colorado’s backcountry. We don’t want to lose this history.

Financial support for this project:

Museum area and the new fireplace

The construction costs as of 2020 have reached $476,000.00. Funding is still needed for the costs related to the interior design and construction of new displays. This 3200 Sq. ft. facility will consist of a fireproof storage and archival facility in the lower level and then an upper level in which the historical equipment and artifacts will be displayed together with a research area.

We would like to thank the following organizations and foundations for their financial support in this capital campaign. We would also like to thank all the private individuals that have contributed to this campaign.

  • Gates Family Foundation
  • Boettcher Foundation
  • Anschutz Fountain
  • El Pomar Foundation
  • GR Foundation
  • Colorado Trust
  • First Bank
  • Colorado Search and Rescue Association
  • Alpine Rescue Team
  • Other Colorado SAR Teams
  • Private Individuals

Benefits of creating the Colorado Mountain Rescue History Center:

  • Showcase and preserve the history of Mountain Search and Rescue; more than a half-century of humanitarian service in the mountains of Colorado.
  • Permits SAR Team’s use of past mission reports and records to expand knowledge and better anticipate the movements of subjects in the field. This could save lives.
  • Promote public education in the areas of mountain safety and preparedness.
  • Take pride in the rescuers that have performed this service, free of charge to the residents and visitors to the State of Colorado for the last 75 years.