To improve the safety awareness in the backcountry in Northern Utah and Southeastern Idaho, an effort is in the works to set up avalanche beacon checkpoints at several of the area’s main trailheads.
“These stations would serve as both a physical and visual reminder to people heading to the hills during the winter,” said Jay Grunig, Franklin County Search & Rescue liaison with the Sheriff’s Office. “By reminding people to have the right safety equipment and ensuring that it is functioning properly, we can help mitigate the risk of avalanche casualty.”
The idea was posed to the S&R by members of the Franklin County High Markers, the local snowmobile club. Since then, several other organizations have joined in the effort: the search and rescue organizations of Bear Lake County, Caribou County and Cache County, as well as snowmobile clubs in those areas.
“There’s been a lot of talk between all of these organizations for a lot of years. Now we feel it is the time to do it. We want to get eight or nine of those stations up and working. It will be on all major trailheads, not just in FC,” said Grunig. Each site will cost about $1,500 to put together. One will definitely be placed at the Copenhagen Basin parking lot, as it is the most used trailhead, he said.
How much money is raised for the cause will determine the number of beacon testers that will be placed.
Persons interested in helping with the effort may do so through a GoFundMe account set up by the Franklin County High Markers, and linked to the FCS&R account at US Bank. People may also donate through Venmo. Links to both accounts are on the FCS&R Facebook page.