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Calaveras County is bordered by two wild rivers, the Mokelumne and the Stanislaus. Both carve their way through deep canyons, surrounded by a visual drama that will reset your benchmark for beauty.  The Mokelumne Canyon is one of the last remaining pristine wilderness canyons. Spring snow-melt creates spectacular whitewater and the wildflower bloom continues throughout the summer as it follows the retreating snow into higher elevations. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, there is no better place to come and play.

Because the terrain is diverse and rugged, our volunteers develop a broad range of search, survival and rescue skills. They prepare for operations in extreme terrain and weather conditions. If you get lost or hurt in this wilderness country, it’s serious and frightening. We train as if it could happen to one of us.

The photo gallery above illustrates the diversity of our county. When you travel this back-country, do as we do, take THE TEN ESSENTIALS.  To learn more, read The Ten Essentials by Steve Shields, first published in the Calaveras Chronicle.



Calaveras Search & Rescue teaches wilderness survival to youngsters and school aged children through its Hug-a-Tree program. The Sheriff’s Office awarded the prestigious Lifesaving Award to this program after it met a milestone of training 13,000 students. It is taught using hands-on activities at county schools and recreational areas like Big Trees State Park. A local principal called the program “Outstanding!” and added “This should be mandatory for all our school aged children.”

Using the Hug-a-Tree program, youngsters learn how to “play it safe in wild places.” Join us Monday nights at the Campfire, 8:30PM, Big Trees State Park.  For a history of Hug-a-Tree, visit NASAR Hug-A-Tree or “Contact Us.”

For more on Hug-a-Tree and Calaveras County Search & Rescue, listen to Joel Metzger’s interview with Jay and Jan Brethauer on YouTube’s “Inside View.”

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