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Yosemite National Park Scales Back Search for Missing Hiker

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Date: June 23, 2011

Park Makes Transition to Limited Continuous Searching After Nearly One Week

Yosemite National Park has scaled down the search for missing hiker George Penca. After nearly one week of extensive searching, Park Rangers have not found any clues as to Penca’s whereabouts. Penca, from Hawthorne, California, has been missing in the area of Upper Yosemite Fall since Friday, June 17, 2011.  

Initial search efforts began on Friday night, June 17, after Penca was reported missing when he failed to return from a day hike he was on with members from his church. A full-scale operation was initiated on Saturday morning, June 18, including approximately 105 Search and Rescue personnel from around the state.  

Starting today, June 23, search efforts will transition to a limited continuous search in the area Penca was last seen. The change in search strategy was implemented after review of the continued risk of exposure for Search and Rescue personnel, as well as the lack of clues as to Penca’s whereabouts.  

Yosemite National Park is asking anyone who has been in the area of the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail who may have information on George Penca to please call the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center at 209-379-1992. Penca is 5’ 10” tall, weighs 240 pounds, and has dark brown hair, blue eyes, a stocky build. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants with white stripes, a black t-shirt that says “D&B” across the chest, or a black tank top, and gray/blue running shoes.  
 
Agencies involved in the search for Penca include: Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue, Inyo County, Mono County, Mariposa County, Marin County, Fresno County, Tuolumne County, China Lake, Los Angeles County, Nevada County, Sierra Madre, Yosemite Search and Rescue Dog Teams, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and California Explorer Search and Rescue.

For more information and to view a flyer on George Penca please visit: www.nps.gov/yose/upload/penca.pdf

Did You Know?

Merced River in Yosemite Valley

The Merced River was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1987. Eighty-one miles of river runs through Yosemite National Park, including a stretch in Yosemite Valley.