Search and Rescue
North Cascades National Park and the local County Sheriffs Office are responsible for rescues in the North Cascades National Park Complex. Volunteer Mountain Rescue units also work with the agencies.
If a member of your party is injured, good information from the reporting party is critical in evaluating the situation. Be prepared to tell rescuers:
- Location of the injured party
- Extent of injuries (as much information as possible)
- When the accident occurred
- How the party was injured
- Terrain at the site where the injured party is currently located
If you are calling from a cell phone, first state your name, phone number, location and if you are requesting an emergency response. State this information first, so that if the connection is lost park dispatchers can call you back. Only a few years ago, the benefits and drawbacks of taking a cell phone into Wilderness were hotly debated. Current thought is this: While cell service is far from completely reliable in such remote and rugged terrain, cell reception is possible in many locations, particularly from higher elevations. Thus, a cell phone call may be the best and quickest method of activating a response in an emergency in the mountains. Never forget, however, that many locations do not get cell service, and you may still need to get yourself to a location with reception. Never rely on a cell phone as your sole emergency evacuation plan.
- North Cascades National Park dispatch 360-854-7249
Recommended first contact for emergencies within the park complex May – October, daily 7:30 am – 11 pm
- Skagit County Sheriff’s Office dispatch 360-336-9450
- Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office dispatch 360-384-5390
You can also call 911 and the appropriate agency will be contacted. Calling 911 will always trigger a response, but cell calls from wilderness areas often reach dispatch centers far from your location, and hours may pass before the logical responding agency receives the information.