On the afternoon of Jan. 2, the Mohave County Arizona Sheriff’s Office received a report of a lost individual in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument approximately 60 miles south of St. George. A search-and-rescue effort was initiated using both a ground team and a helicopter from the Department of Public Safety. Personnel from Washington County, Utah, as well as law enforcement rangers from the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service joined Mohave County in the search effort.
The individual, who was reported to be a teenager, disappeared while hunting for deer antlers in a remote area southwest of the Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse. The teen was not equipped to stay overnight in below-freezing temperatures.
On the afternoon of January 3, NPS rangers Steve Edwards and Royce Orme spotted the teen walking down BLM 1054, a rough dirt road that vehicles rarely travel in winter. The teen had been lost for 24 hours and had walked three miles from where he had been last seen. This was the first time the teen had been in the area. He reported that he did not know which way to go due to the confusing terrain. He had matches and was able to start a warming fire but did not have food. When rescued, he had no water left. There was no water in the area other than a dusting of snow on the ground. He was wearing only a moderately warm coat, jeans, a ball cap, and hiking boots.
The teen’s survival over several days would be unlikely due to the cold and the lack of travelers in the area who could have helped him.
Cell phones do not work throughout the monument. Visitors who plan to travel on the Arizona Strip, including the Parashant, are encouraged to bring a satellite phone or messenger and extra supplies and to obtain the 2016 BLM Arizona Strip map to assist with navigation in these remote, rugged areas. The map is available at the Public Lands Information Center in St. George at 345 E. Riverside Dr.