Getting around big, rugged parks such as Joshua Tree National Park can be tricky without the right rig. Fortunately for Joshua Tree's rangers, Friends of Joshua Tree has donated a heavy duty pickup truck for search-and-rescue operations.
The truck in question is a low mileage, 2003 Ford F350 pickup truck, and it's already fitted with locking storage compartments for ropes, climbing hardware, and other rescue equipment. The vehicle will be used by the Joshua Tree National Park Search and Rescue program to support rock climbing accidents, searches for lost hikers, and other rescue activities.
Joshua Tree embraces nearly 794,000 acres of desert terrain, 75 percent of which is designated wilderness. The park is also a world-renowned destination for rock climbers and boulder enthusiasts who test their skills on the wide variety of published climbs and boulder ‘problems.’
Each year the park experiences a number of climbing accidents, missing and overdue hikers, medical emergencies, and other incidents where JOSAR is called to assist. Park officials say the donated vehicle will be a key asset in the park’s overall preparedness and response to these emergencies.
Friends of Joshua Tree is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historical tradition of climbing in Joshua Tree National Park. Friends of Joshua Tree advocates, communicates, and encourages ethical and environmentally sound climbing practices, and works to shape park policy on climbing and climbing-related issues. Toward that end, Friends of Joshua Tree acts as a liaison between the climbing community and the National Park Service.
“It’s increasingly through partnerships with organizations like the Friends of Joshua Tree that national parks are able to improve their services and capabilities on behalf of the visiting public," said Joshua Tree Superintendent Mark Butler. "We are very happy to receive this donation of a utility vehicle that will be invaluable to our JOSAR operations. This gift builds on Friends of Joshua Tree’s long record of support at Joshua Tree National Park. The park is grateful for their efforts.”