News – A North Georgia GMRS Repeater Supports Rescue of a Lost Hiker in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Thanks to the efforts of Top of The World Landowners Association (TOWLA) volunteers and the new GMRS Radio System provided by the North Georgia GMRS Network, a lost hiker was found and reunited with her family.
The Top of The World Community is adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) in Blount County, Tennessee about 25 miles from Knoxville.
On Monday, Feb. 24, at about 5:00 PM, the TOWLA Security Team was notified that a hiker was missing and presumed lost in the GSMNP. Three members of the team mobilized at the trailhead of Goldmine trail to discuss how to best find the missing hiker then set off to search.
Earlier in the day, three hikers (two men and a woman) started their hike at Goldmine Trail headed for Cades Cove (about 11 miles). At some point, they became separated and the female hiker could not be located. The National Park Service was notified and a ranger was dispatched to Cades Cove. The two male hikers wanted to hike back in on Goldmine trail to search for their missing friend. It was about 6:00 PM, getting dark, and temperatures were expected to fall below freezing.
In view of the emergency and to maximize the number of “boots on the ground” with communications gear, a GMRS handheld radio was loaned to the two male hikers so contact could be maintained as they entered the mountaineous area. They kept other searchers informed of their location and were assured that the TOWLA Security Team was searching all possible trails where she may go. Security Member, Don Seiber went to Abrams Creek Campground and Hank Caruso stayed at Goldmine Trail. Mike McClurg kept in contact with the Rangers.
At about 8:30 PM, Don located the missing hiker at the Abrams Creek Campground. She was preparing to sleep on a picnic table…an understandable but cold, unsheltered location. Via radio, we notified the two male hikers that their partner had been found and they hiked back out Goldmine Trail to be reunited. Throughout the search, search team members used the GMRS handhelds to stay in constant contact and avoid duplicating search areas.
TOWLA Representative, Hank Caruso said “The GMRS radios are a wonderful asset to our security team and the Top of the World community, well worth the investment in the handheld devices and the GMRS licenses for those using them.” The hikers were also very impressed with the performance of the radio system.
The North Georgia GMRS organization was created in April of 2007, by Gary M. Beckstedt Sr., Dianna M. DiOrio and Bracy Poppell. We started out as a user supported group open to anyone with a current GMRS license. Our goal is to provide education and training in the art of radio communications, installation of equipment and proper usage of emergency communications protocol, during an emergency call out. In addition to the educational programs we support, we also provide and maintain our coverage area with reliable repeater coverage for licensed GMRS users. Additionally, we support and provide Emergency Communications access for County wide CERT Programs, Mounted Search and Rescue Teams and Organized Community Watch Programs within our region.
Review the Membership & Use Page for more information.
Over the past few years, we have been fortunate enough to grow and expand in areas that have allowed us to cover a major part of the entire State of Georgia, as well as parts of southeast Tennessee and areas in North Carolina. We will continue to move forward searching for new sites, as we work to improving and expanding our coverage for better service.
In 2013 North Georgia GMRS incorporated under the State of Georgia as a Non Profit Charity. During the course of this year we will begin further organizing and applying for our Federal 501/C3 status. By making this change to our organization, it will allow us to seek additional funding from both private and corporate sources, enabling North Georgia GMRS Inc. to expand our educational programs and improve the radio coverage for our communities and families alike. Donations are our only source of funding and we encourage everyone to continue the support us as you have done in the past.
Our community repeaters are top-of-the-line, commercial grade systems and provide 100% continuous duty for our network. In addition to providing quality service to the GMRS community, we also desire to provide a website that will help educate and assist you in learning more about the GMRS radios and network.
Education & Funding is the key to our growth. Please feel free to browse the site and take advantage of the information we are providing. You may want to start by clicking on “Is GMRS 4 Me” . Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome.
You don’t have to be a user to join our mailing list. It’s an easy way to keep up with news and information about our network. The mailing list sign-up is located in the right side menu area.
Donations of any amount are always welcome and we encourage you to read our 2012 Funding Drive Letter & Progress Report.
All though much of what we do involves hard work, there are times when the view is definitely worth the climb. Though the wind often makes talking difficult, the view more than makes up for it.