The Mountain Times

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New state Search and Rescue Coordinator announced


The Vermont Department of Public Safety and Vermont State Police recently announced the appointment of Neil Van Dyke as the Search and Rescue Coordinator. Van Dyke will coordinate the overall training and continued development of local, county, and state search and rescue teams. He will assist in maintaining and updating a statewide inventory of search and rescue resources; will develop search and rescue training for volunteer and first response organizations who wish to participate in search and rescue operations; and will assist in identifying equipment and training needs for the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team. An important part of this position will be the outdoor recreation public safety messaging, and to act as a professional resource to assist in search and rescue operations.
"Neil's broad experience, proven leadership and approachable personality will be a benefit to the state," said Major Dennis Reinhardt of Vermont Fish and Wildlife. "He's the ideal person to coordinate the diverse groups involved with search and rescue efforts. We look forward to partnering with him."
Van Dyke was a founding member of Stowe Mountain Rescue in 1980 and has served as the team's leader for over 25 years. During that time he has participated in close to 1,000 search and rescue missions. He spent many years as a member of the local fire department and rescue squad; serves as Stowe's Emergency Management Director; and has also worked as a seasonal backcountry ranger in New York's Adirondack Park since 2007. On the national level he has been an active member of the Mountain Rescue Association, serving as president from 2010-2012.
Van Dyke has an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, and a master's degree in Recreation Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He lives in Stowe with his wife Carol where his family owns and operates the Golden Eagle Resort.
"Neil's previous experience makes him perfectly suited to coordinating Vermont's search and rescue efforts," said Commissioner Keith Flynn about Van Dyke's recent decision to accept the position. "We believe this step forward in creating a unified approach to managing search and rescue operations in Vermont will result in the efficient and successful resolution to incidents involving lost and injured individuals."
Van Dyke will begin on Dec. 2, 2013.