Backcountry Search and Rescue Program
Colorado Backcountry Search and Rescue organizations are volunteer-based and provide search and rescue services throughout Colorado, free of charge, to those stranded, lost or injured in the backcountry. Grant funds and reimbursements are available to Colorado counties and nonprofit backcountry search and rescue organizations to enable volunteers to continue to provide services.
If you are experiencing an emergency in the backcountry, call 911.
Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card
Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card: Dedicated VOLUNTEER search and rescue (BSAR) professionals, across Colorado, are ready to mobilize to help those stranded, lost, or injured in the Colorado backcountry. Your Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) contribution supplies reimbursements to SAR teams for costs incurred while conducting search and rescue operations, and to provide funding for the purchase of search and rescue-related equipment and training. Because of your support and the tremendous generosity of our search and rescue responders, Colorado is a safer place to play. Purchase a CORSAR Card.
Here’s how the reimbursement works...
After a BSAR incident concludes, the County in which the mission was conducted sends a request to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for reimbursement. If the subject of the incident has a CORSAR card or eligible Parks and Wildlife license or registration, a reimbursement payment is processed immediately. If the subject of the search does not have a CORSAR Card or eligible Parks and Wildlife license or registration, the request for reimbursement is held until the end of the year. If money is available in the fund at the end of the year, the requesting county receives reimbursement.
The CORSAR card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals or pay for medical transport.
CORSAR cards are available for $3 for a 1-year card and $12 for a 5-year card. Purchase a CORSAR Card.
Interested in volunteering for a Backcountry Search and Rescue (BSAR) team?
Backcountry Search and Rescue in Colorado is a 100% volunteer-based service that functions under the authority and coordination of the County Sheriff. Being a backcountry search and rescue member is a challenging and rewarding life-saving service. Visit the Colorado Search and Rescue Association website for a Colorado County Map and contact information of active Backcountry Search and Rescue Organizations. Most BSAR Team websites provide information about how to become a member with team contact information if you have further questions.
Backcountry Search and Rescue Workgroup
In 2021, a study of the Backcountry Search and Rescue system was conducted for the purpose of identifying focused areas of need within the system of coordination to support long-term sustainability. Read the BSAR Study. The workgroup remains as an integral part of the team to identify gaps in the system, areas needing improvements, and begin discussions about solutions.
Outdoor education and TrainingTo maximize safety in the outdoors, outdoor education and training is extremely important. High altitude, weather conditions, cell phone reception, wildlife, planning and preparedness are vital pieces of ensuring a good time in Colorado. Even the most experienced outdoor recreationalists can find themselves in precarious situations.
You can find various free and low-cost outdoor education in Colorado.
Mental Health Training for Backcountry Search and Rescue 1st Responders
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has established a partnership for providing first responder mental health to those who are participating members in search and rescue activities throughout Colorado. For more information, please visit the Responder Alliance website.
Backcountry Search and Rescue (BSAR) Council NEW
The primary goal of the Backcountry Search and Rescue Council (“Council") is to faithfully serve the citizens of Colorado by providing expert BSAR opinions and advice to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife about systemic enhancements and about the disbursement of funds from the Backcountry Search and Rescue Fund.
Anyone may nominate another individual or themselves for consideration of a Council position by submitting a completed Google application Form. Positions on the BSAR Council are evaluated first by the existing Council from the pool of nominees. The CPW Director will then appoint members of the Council (“Councilors") based on Council recommendations. Councilors will be individuals knowledgeable and interested in search and rescue in the State of Colorado. The intent is to maintain broad and balanced representation from county sheriffs, Colorado Search and Rescue Association, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and from the general public. The Council shall be comprised of between 7 to 9 Councilors that are expected to represent interests from across the state and must contain:
- At least three members representing the County Sheriffs of Colorado,
- At least two members appointed by the Colorado Search and Rescue Association,
- At least two members from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The Director is expected to appoint the remaining one or two Councilors with a goal of ensuring diversity on the Council. This diversity may be geographic, political, economic, gender, cultural, or based on an individual's experience; or to balance the views of the Council as the Director sees fit.
Meetings are held every six months, at a minimum, but may be called at any time based on need. Meetings may be 1 to 5 hours in duration and held through an online platform and/or in-person. In-person meetings may require travel to various areas of Colorado.
For more information, please review the Council Bylaws or contact the BSAR Program Manager at Perry.A.Boydstun@state.co.us or 303-864-7748.
BSAR Council Links & Resources:
Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC)
Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)
Colorado Search and Rescue Association