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National Park Service rescuers receive accreditation

Contributed photo

The High Angle Rescue Team is trained in rough terraine search and rescue.

March 20, 2013

BUSHKILL, PA — National Park Superintendent John J. Donahue has announced that the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area’s (NRA) High Angle Rescue (HAR) team has been accredited by the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA). With this achievement, the team joins 13 other national park units that hold MRA accreditation including Denali, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton and Mount Rainier National Parks. Delaware Water Gap is the only national park unit to be recognized in the Appalachian Region that extends along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Georgia and west to Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The MRA was established in 1959 as a non-profit professional association of mountain rescue units and has over 100 member teams in the Unites States and Canada. It is the oldest search and rescue association in the U.S. and is dedicated to saving lives through mountain safety education.

The MRA also provides critical training programs in technical rescue operations, annual seminars and a system for accrediting teams that meet the organization’s stringent requirements for rescue capabilities. Delaware Water Gap NRA will co-host the annual MRA conference in 2014.

Delaware Water Gap’s HAR team has over 40 members who perform technical rescue operations in the most difficult terrain, including steep ravines and cliffs. The team works closely with partner organizations including New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of State Parks and Forestry and other nearby national park units and includes professionals from several other area agencies. The team also provides technical assistance to the surrounding community.

On March 11, the park’s HAR team assisted Pennsylvania State Police, Blooming Grove, with the recovery of a body of a woman from the base of Shohola Falls, just outside the park.