Hiker missing in TRNP South Unit: Multiple agencies head search to find 48-year-old manA solo hiker has gone missing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, according to a press release received by The Press at 3:28 p.m. Tuesday.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
A solo hiker has gone missing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, according to a press release received by The Press at 3:28 p.m. Tuesday.
Dan Olszewski, 48, went out Sunday morning and was reported missing by his employer Monday morning, according to the release.
Olszewski is from Virginia but is in North Dakota working, said Eileen Andes, TRNP chief of interpretation and public affairs.
Search parties were formed immediately to find Olszewski, described as in good physical shape and an experienced backcountry hiker.
“He likes to hike and explore and is very well organized when it comes to his adventures outdoors,” Andes said.
Foul play is not suspected, she said.
“Right now it’s a missing person,” Andes said.
Olszewski is believed to be in the park’s South Unit, Andes said. His vehicle was found near the Maah Daah Hey trailhead at the southwest boundary of the park.
“The area west of the (Little Missouri) River in the South Unit is basically the wilderness area, all of the trails in the area have been searched,” she said.
There are 46,158 acres in the South Unit, but the search is concentrated to the wilderness area, Andes said. An estimate of the number of acres searched by Tuesday afternoon was not available, officials said.
It is believed that Olszewski was carrying a cellphone, but reception in the park is spotty at best, Andes said.
“It’s easy in some parts of the Badlands to get turned around,” Andes said.
The National Park Service, Billings County Sheriff’s Office, Billings County Emergency Medical Services, U.S. Forest Service, citizen volunteers, a search dog team from South Dakota and the North Dakota Highway Patrol are involved in a search on foot, horseback and in the air, according to the release. A U.S. Air Force helicopter from the Minot Air Force Base was sent to the site Tuesday evening.
“We hope they find him,” said Jennifer Morlock of Dakota Cyclery in Medora. “Hopefully it’s just an injury and that he’s just waiting for help.”
Those wishing to join the search with skills or resources applicable to the mission can call TRNP at 701-623-4466, Andes said.
“For any help we would need somebody who is definitely in good shape and familiar with the local terrain,” she said.
There are procedures in place to handle this type of search, she said.
Hikers are reported missing when coming in late several times over the course of the summer, Andes said.
“It’s usually people who aren’t familiar with the area and are not very well prepared,” she said.
Most of the time the people are found safe, Andes said.
Temperatures on Sunday were in the upper 90s, according to the National Weather Service.
“There are times that, especially when it’s hot and dry as it has been, that people don’t carry enough water so they may be dehydrated and maybe a little woozy,” she said. “When some people go out hiking, they not only don’t take enough water, they don’t take enough to eat.”
It’s important to drink water and to keep fueled when exercising, Andes said.
“Always make sure that when you go hiking to let somebody know where you’re going — somebody who’s not with you — so in case you don’t get back when you’re anticipated, somebody can notify us and we can start a search,” Andes said.
If there is any information to be shared, Andes and the park staff urge readers to call North Dakota State Radio at 800-472-2121. That information can then be relayed to the park.