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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 landscape as beautiful as any other. The Mokelumne Canyon is one of the last of the great wilderness canyons. Spring snow-melt creates spectacular whitewater and the wildflower bloom continues throughout the summer, following 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 varied, our volunteers must develop a diverse set of search and rescue skills. They prepare for operations in the most difficult terrain and in the worst in weather conditions. If you get lost or hurt in this wilderness country, its serious and frightening. We train as if it could happen to one of us.

The photo gallery above illustrates the terrain and weather diversity of our county. When you travel to the 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 Sheriffs 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.”

Instructors Jay and Jan Brethauer (left) present our Hug-a-Tree program, teaching youngsters how to “play it safe in wild places.”  Join them 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 on YouTube’s “Inside View.”


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