North Valley Rescue is the primary response agency for the northeastern half of Flathead County, is based out of Columbia Falls, and was founded in 1972. Its response area includes the North, Middle, and South fork drainages of the Flathead River. The members of North Valley not only love their community, but the area they serve as well.
Flathead County Search and Rescue is the primary response agency for the southwestern half of Flathead County, is based out of Kalispell, and is one of the oldest SAR agencies in the United States being founded in 1950. Flathead is currently made up of around 60 volunteers who come from all walks of life, but are brought together by one common thread, the desire to help people.
For emergencies or to report lost/overdue persons
so others may live...
Flathead County is located in the northwest corner of Montana and encompasses a total area of 5,256 square miles of various terrain including 158 square miles of water in the form of lakes, reservoirs, and rivers making it an outdoor recreation destination year round. Consequently, the need for search & rescue resources is significant.
To cover such an expanse of country, the county relies on two search & rescue agencies to serve the people who reside in and enjoy Flathead County. Flathead County Search & Rescue is based out of Kalispell and North Valley Rescue is based out of Columbia Falls. Flathead primarily responds to the southwestern half of the county and North Valley responds to emergencies on the northeast side. Often these two agencies train together and respond in tandem as the need arises.
Dispatched through the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, search & rescue responders are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days per year to provide assistance to missing or injured persons within Flathead County and the surrounding region. Whether the search area is the wilderness, rural countryside, or a residential neighborhood, search & rescue personnel are prepared to respond with specialized training in such areas as canine handling, swiftwater rescue, ropes and rigging AKA mountain rescue, ice rescue, man tracking and certified medical response.