Droves of new volunteers join Craters search

kterhune@idahostatesman.comOctober 4, 2013 

Craters of the Moon National Monument received a surge of new volunteers after the family of a missing Boise woman issued a plea for more searchers.

The search for Dr. Jo Elliott-Blakeslee hit a major snag Tuesday when the government shutdown forced the monument’s staff onto furlough. But after ten employees stepped up to continue the search without pay, and Elliott-Blakeslee’s family called for experienced hikers to help comb the park’s rugged terrain, the search roared back to life.

“That kind of turned into a group effort with the incident command staff and the family,” Incident Commander Wes Collins said.

About 70 people total were searching for the missing hiker Friday. Some of the volunteers had come from out of state, but most were from around Idaho, he said.

That’s a big improvement, he said. The weather is looking up as well.

Poor weather that brought wet, cold conditions before dumping snow on the park Thursday stymied the search, but conditions had cleared by Friday, Collins said.

“We had geared this search down last week due to weather and search conditions, and now we’re just picking back up for the weekend,” he said.

Searchers were joined Friday by nine dog teams that Craters staff hope will catch Elliott-Blakeslee’s scent. The Boise woman has been missing since Sept. 19.

Katie Terhune: 377-6219

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