About Us

About Us

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Who We Are

The volunteer members of Sparwood SAR operate as part of Emergency Management BC's Public Safety Lifeline, and have been providing Search and Rescue services to the community of Sparwood and surrounding areas since the late 1970's. Starting off as a loosely associated group of community-minded volunteers and outdoorsmen, we have grown over the years into a well organized, highly trained and well equipped service whose 25 regular members put thousands of hours annually into training for and responding to emergency situations.

SAR volunteers come from all walks of life: tradespeople, business owners, teachers, paramedics, parents, and the list goes on... What they all have in common is a strong desire to learn new skills and use those skills to help people in distress. 

Supporting these volunteers is the Sparwood Search and Rescue Society, a non-profit, charitable organization formed in the early 2000's to raise funds, administer the local SAR program and provide the volunteers with the specialized training, vehicles and equipment that are necessary to providing this life saving service.

What We Do

Search and Rescue is a lot more involved than just going out and looking for people, especially in the remote wilderness and mountainous terrain of British Columbia. In addition to the standard Ground SAR capability, we also provide several additional services:

  • High-angle Rope Rescue
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • Organized Avalanche Response
  • Community Emergency Response
  • Public Education / SAR Prevention

Service Area

Sparwood SAR is based in the town of Sparwood, BC and we primarily serve Sparwood and the surrounding rural and backcountry areas. Also because we work as part of a provincial system, we are regularly called to assist with incidents throughout the East Kootenay region and even other parts of the province in the case of large operations.

Sparwood is located in the middle of the Elk Valley, at the entrance to the Crowsnest Pass on the junction of Highways 3 and 43.  Our coverage area includes north of Sparwood to the Line Creek mine, south to Hosmer, and east through the Crowsnest Pass to the BC/Alberta boundary. This area includes the Alexander Creek valley north of the pass between the Erickson and Divide ranges, and south from the pass is the Corbin area which includes popular backcountry recreation areas such as the pipeline, Tent Mountain, Andy Good Creek, Mount Ptolemy and Barnes Lake. Further south from Corbin and the Coal Mountain mine is the Flathead Forest Service Road, the northern access to the Flathead River valley which extends south right to the U.S. border. The Flathead River is similar in size to the Elk River and is one of the few pristine rivers remaining in British Columbia. The valley around it is vast, remote, and generally unpopulated except by a wide array of wildlife.

Most of these backcountry areas can be considered remote, and the chances of encountering another person should you become lost or stranded may be slim. Cellular phone service is often non-existant beyond the two main highways. Weather conditions can change rapidly with little warning and the extensive array of logging roads and somewhat outdated maps in circulation can easily confuse a person. Anyone planning a trip into the backcountry around the Elk Valley should take appropriate precautions, some suggestions can be found on the Survival Tips page.

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This web site has been created by and is provided by VolunteerRescue of SKRPC Holdings Inc., Fernie, BC, Canada.