Search for Missing Hiker
Contact: Betty Lieurance, 970-529-4608
Rangers and other emergency services personnel are conducting a search and rescue operation for a 52-year old Texas man that was reported missing Sunday, June 9. Mitchell Stehling told his wife and parents he was going to visit Spruce Tree House. When he did not return, they notified Park Dispatch. A hasty search of Spruce Canyon, Spruce Tree House, Petroglyph Trail and other trails on Chapin Mesa was initiated following the report. Crews were out early Monday morning expanding the search area on foot, by horseback and by helicopter. Two dog teams from Dolores Canine Search and Rescue are also assisting in the search. Approximately 30 people searched multiple trails and canyons until late evening.
Crews resumed their search this morning. They are being joined by 20 members of the San Juan National Forest Hot Shots bringing the total number of personnel involved to 50.
Temperatures in the park are in the 90s. The terrain consists of steep canyons and mesa tops at an elevation between 6,500 and 8,000 feet. Mr. Stehling was last seen wearing a brown shirt and hat, khaki shorts and hiking boots. He was not carrying any water or other gear. If you've seen this man, please call park dispatch at 970-529-4622.
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.