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Island SAR team and forestry company collaborate for training, rescues and private land access

A recently signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) may be finding a new way forward for other organizations.

The MOU, signed between Arrowsmith Search and Rescue and Mosaic Forest Management, will allow for collaboration on training, rescues and access to Mosaic land between Cook Creek and Lantzville, according to a press release from Mosaic.

The land is privately owned and Mosaic says groups like Arrowsmith SAR need formal permission to access the land unless it’s an emergency. The two organizations say the opportunity will allow for training and practice operations in the Mosaic-owned lands.

“Mosaic will share detailed maps, enable training on private lands, collaborate on mutually beneficial training courses where appropriate and commit to open communication on an ongoing basis,” said Mosaic in an email statement to Vista Radio.

It will also provide knowledge of the Mosaic roads, which is important as they change as different areas are logged.

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“Usually, it’s difficult for us to get up-to-date mapping data because the roads change quite a bit over time as they log different areas,” said Arrowsmith Search and Rescue president Ken Peters. “So, the MOU will allow them to provide us with up-to-date mapping data.”

The knowledge of roads will help with rescues involving backroad driving, ATV driving and hiking. Peters says rescues involving backcountry goers happen frequently every year.

“It sometimes happens that we get a pretty accurate location on somebody because of the cell phone data but we need to be able to figure out how to get to them,” said Peters. “That can be problematic if we don’t have up-to-date map data.”

The training will also allow others to be certified by Arrowsmith SAR, according to Arrowsmith SAR vice president Nick Rivers.

“The ability to conduct crew training and practice scenarios in the areas where rescues will occur is invaluable,” said Rivers.

“To be certified by Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, volunteers must undergo extensive training in skills including rope rescue, water safety, navigation, overnight survival, and wilderness first aid. We are very pleased to have Mosaic’s support with maps and local knowledge to carry out these important training and rescue initiatives on Mosaic lands.”

Mosaic says the MOU will also allow for enhanced public safety between the two organizations.

The MOU may set the stage for similar agreements with Mosaic in the future, according to the forestry company.

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