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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park report tonight that the body of an adult male was found along Kintla Lake in the park’s remote North Fork area late Wednesday afternoon by searchers looking for an overdue hiker. The cause of death of the out-of-state visitor has not been confirmed at this time. Park officials were poised to release a Missing Person poster and seek help from the public late Wednesday afternoon when the man’s body was found on a slope above the trail near the head of Kintla Lake at about 5 p.m.
Park personnel had recently begun investigating the circumstances surrounding the deceased man’s disappearance. The investigation had thus far focused in the vicinity of where the man was last seen at the head of Kintla Lake.
More than 30 people were involved in Wednesday’s search including National Park Service (NPS) personnel, U.S. Border Patrol agents, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue personnel and the FBI. Wednesday’s operation involved both ground and aerial search efforts throughout the Kintla Lake and Upper Kintla Lake drainages and surrounding areas for clues to the man’s whereabouts.
Initial NPS search efforts began on October 23, after the man failed to call for a pick up from an acquaintance, as expected. The man had flown to the Flathead Valley on October 7. The next day, he was dropped off in the park’s North Fork area near Kintla Lake. That day, he was contacted by a park ranger at the Kintla Lake Campground where he planned to spend the night. He told the ranger he intended to go hiking in the park. He was told that a backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in the park’s backcountry. The next morning he had left the campsite. The park staff had no other contact with the man since the morning of October 9. The man did not obtain a park backcountry permit.
Late last week, park officials were contacted by the acquaintance that had dropped the man off in the park on October 8. The man left luggage and belongings at an area hotel and indicated that he would be in contact in a couple of weeks. The individual became concerned when there was no word from the man after two weeks and called the park. Prior to this notification, the NPS had received no notification or indication that the man was missing.
After front country campgrounds were checked throughout the park on Friday and Saturday, an initial aerial and ground search was conducted on Sunday, October 26th by park personnel who hiked and searched the park’s main trail corridors in the vicinity of Kintla Lake, including the Bowman Lake drainage, and the trail system leading to Goat Haunt, but no clues or evidence was found.
According to Patrick Suddath, Glacier’s Incident Commander for the search and investigation, “Details of the man’s intended plans were very sketchy. All we knew was that he had told acquaintances that he intended to travel into Glacier’s backcountry for anywhere from one to four weeks, that he knew there was a permit requirement, and that he did not obtain a permit.”
The deceased man’s name is being withheld pending notification of family.
- NPS -