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Who We Are


KCSR is an all volunteer, non-profit organization, formed in 1991 at the request of the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office. Our monthly meeting is the 4th Thursday of each month, meeting in Ellensburg on even numbered months and Cle Elum in odd months. The public is welcome!

KCSR, Kittitas County SAR Ground TEam

Our Mission


KCSR’s mission is to provide personnel for Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office to conduct search, rescue, recovery, and evacuation operations, primarily within Kittitas County. KCSR does not act in any capacity except at the direction of the Sheriff’s Office. 


What We Do

 The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office 

calls on KCSR for various types of missions, including:

  • Lost or missing persons
  • Injured hikers or climbers
  • Lost or injured snowmobilers
  • Avalanche search and recovery
  • Airplane crashes
  • Evidence searches
  • Forest fire road closures
  • Floods/evacuations 


Our Teams

KCSR is organized into 10 teams, each specializing in components of a SAR operation:

  • Communications
  • Ground Team
  • Backcountry Ground Team
  • Winter Backcountry Ground Team
  • Horse Team
  • Snowmobile Team
  • ORV Team
  • Dog (K9) Team
  • UAS Team
  • Explorer Search and Rescue Team


Provides radio communications, mapping and Operations support at base camp.

Ground Team

The Ground Team is the heart of SAR. Aka, The Ground Pounders, the team is the entry point for new members and provides the base for building new skills and expertise.

Backcountry Ground

The BG team is a more advanced ground team. They typically operate in more remote and advanced wilderness settings with weather and terrain extremes.

Winter Backcountry Ground

Operating in Alpine and Nordic environments, specifically trained in avalanche rescue and recovery, and able to travel using multiple methods such as skis and showshoes, Winter BG is the go-to when it's white outside.

Horse Team

Did you know that horses can be used to track human scent? They certainly can! Our Horse Team members can also carry equipment that would be difficult for a Ground Team member to carry a great distance. We have burros too!

Snowmobile Team

Many folks come to Kittitas County for winter recreation on their snow machines. Our Snowmobile Team members are experienced not only in on-sled techniques but they are intimately familiar with the winter recreation areas, allowing them to reach those in need as quickly and safely as possible.

Off Road Vehicle Team

Often used to transport Ground Team members, carrying equipment or providing containment during a search, the ORV team can take some of the miles off the Ground Team's feet. The ORV team vehicles can also be used to reach remote areas to provide radio communications relay services.

Dog (K9) Team

Dog Team members (human and K9) are highly-skilled teams providing air-scent tracking, trailing, Human Remains Detection (HRD) skills to our missions. The dogs live with their handlers. Black Lab not required.

UAS (Drone) Team

Using small packable drones as well as larger multi-rotor systems with infrared cameras, the UAS team is able to get deep into a search area quickly and performed search operations in areas that may not be accessible by Ground Teams.

Mission Support Team

The MST provides logistical support for SAR members in the field. Duties range from checking in Team members at the Search Base, to arranging provisions for extended missions, and acting as a radio relay in poor reception areas. MST members do not need to be field-qualified.


Join KCSR!


Before an individual can be Field Qualified they must meet a certain set of requirements. Trainees must be 14 years of age or older to join. Each new trainee is required to submit a background check, as required by the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about what we do or how to join, just hit the button below!

Kittitas County Search and Rescue

P.O. Box 1494 Ellensburg WA 98926

We are always open!
Just call 911 for emergency service!

Drop us a line!