At the present time we have a waiting list to join the LPCSAR K-9 team, and I am happy to put your name on the list. In the interim, I hope that the following information will help get you started.

Our team trains three days a week which translates into approximately 750 hours a year in training. Our scheduled trainings are on Tuesday afternoon and evening, and all day Friday and Saturday.

Here are some websites to check out which may be helpful:
These sites will give you an idea of the time commitment, testing standards, and handler requirements. As you may know, it takes between 1,000 – 1,500 hours of training to field a dog/handler unit in a single discipline and longer if you cross train in multiple disciplines. This training generally takes 2 to 3 years to complete prior to the testing process. Our team uses standards developed by the National Search Dog Alliance.

In terms of reading material the following books are good starting points:
“Scent and the Scenting Dog” – Syrotuck
“Scent – Training to Track” – Pearsall
“Search and Rescue Dogs”-American Rescue Dog Assn
“Ready” – Bulanda
“Practical Scent Dog training” – Button

I think it would be a good idea to take a comprehensive seminar. Our team uses High Country K-9 in Montana as a training consultant and evaluator. The website is www.highcountryk9.org There are also other groups around the country which offer seminars.

Know your GPS

The GPS has become a staple of Search and Rescue and location information has been attached to everything from your cell phone to your twitter feed. It is important to understand how that information is used.

When in the field, La Plata County Search and Rescue uses Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates. These are based on square, 1000M grids making it easy to navigate in small areas like our County. Most other groups use Degrees Minutes Seconds in varying formats.

There is another piece that you need to be sure of to match the rest of the team called a Datum. The datum determines how a map is converted from the Earth’s Sphere to a flat map. Unless you work in a GIS department somewhere, there are two Datums to choose from: NAD27 and WGS84(NAD83). Choosing the wrong Datum can put you a few hundred feet or more off target.

La Plata County Search and Rescue uses UTM with NAD27 in the field! However, nearly every time you see Degrees in any format they will be using WGS84. Cell phones, OnStar, SPOT, Google Earth, Yahoo!Maps and your TomTom all use WGS84. When you get a new GPS Unit, it will most likely be set to Degrees Minutes Seconds (DDMMSS.sss) with a WGS84 Datum.


in your travels you might see Latitude and Longitude written as:

37°19’25”n, 107° 59’16”w              Degrees Minutes Seconds (DDMMSS.sss)

37° 19.420 -107° 59.259                  Degrees Decimal Minutes (DDMM.mmm)

37.32366N, 107.98765W                Decimal Degrees (DD.ddd)

-107,59,16,  37,19,25                       Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS)

13S 235318E  4134760N                  Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

These are all the same exact point on a map!


If you want to play with viewing and converting coordinates –

In TOPO! go to View>Preferences>Units>Coordinates

On Garmin GPS units try Main Menu> Setup or Settings>Units

Search & Rescue Cards

Purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card


Why Buy a CORSAR Card?
Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. Funds remaining at the end of the year are used to help pay for training and equipment for these teams. Anyone with a current hunting/fishing license, or boat, snowmobile, ATV registration is already covered by the fund.

The CORSAR Card Is Not Insurance
The card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.

Purchase Card
The CORSAR cards are available for $3 for one year and $12 for five years, and can be purchased at over 300 retailers in the state. You may also purchase cards online. For the cost of the card, you have helped ensure that trained and well equipped search and rescue teams will respond should you become lost or in need of rescue. Furthermore, volunteers will not have to incur undue expense due to your emergency.