Jefferson County stretches across more than 2,000 square miles of territory including much of the mountainous terrain in the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. It is some …
Jefferson County stretches across more than 2,000 square miles of territory including much of the mountainous terrain in the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. It is some of the most beautiful country in the Pacific Northwest but also some of the most rugged and remote.
Jefferson Search and Rescue (JSAR) covers that part of the world. JSAR is an all-volunteer search and rescue team that has served the citizens of Jefferson County since 1976. JSAR volunteers come from all walks of life and share a love for the outdoors and helping those in need.
JSAR volunteers include an emergency department physician, a physician’s assistant, 10 emergency medical technicians (EMT's) and numerous wilderness first-responders. Members must work hard to keep proficient in high-angle rescue techniques, alpine snow and ice travel, avalanche SAR, backcountry search techniques and swift-water rescue. JSAR has responded to 30 SAR missions in so far this year.
Missions are directed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies that request JSAR expertise. The dedicated 30-plus active volunteers respond to the mission call-out day or night, in any weather or terrain, 365 days a year. In 2022 JSAR logged 2,245-person hours combined on search and rescue (SAR) missions, training exercises and community education.
Typical missions might be searching for a lost child in one of the forest communities, rescuing an injured climber on one of the Olympic peaks, rescuing an injured hiker on one of our national forest trails or assisting Olympic National Park with a SAR operation.
JSAR works closely with the U.S. Navy Air Rescue crews from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and the U.S. Coast Guard Air Rescue crews from Air Station Port Angeles to quickly respond to SAR missions in remote areas of Jefferson County.
“Our members come from this community and they have a passion for helping people in the most difficult locations and conditions,” says JSAR board president Matt Stewart. “They buy their own personal gear, they take time off work and away from their families, and they love doing it.”
JSAR is an independent 501(c)(3) organization supported entirely by fundraisers and donations. The team currently has a fund-raising goal of $30,000 to improve water-rescue and technical-rescue capabilities in 2024. Donations can be sent to Jefferson Search and Rescue, PO Box 761, Port Hadlock WA 98339. Your generous donations are tax-deductible and support a hard-working dedicated team. More information can be found at www.jsar.org and questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.