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Rangers Rescue Horse From Park Canyon

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

National Park News

On the afternoon of May 29th, a spooked horse ran away from its owner and headed north in the park until it found an accessible spot to enter Clear Creek, where it proceeded to walk and mostly swim downstream to a canyon area with steep hillsides.  Two fishermen there led the horse to shore and were able to connect with Tammy Dickens, the horse’s owner. She tried three times to lead the horse, named “Dakota,” up the hillside, but it proved to be too steep. Rangers were called for assistance. When they arrived, they found the horse on a ledge about 40 feet below the trail along Clear Creek. The rangers constructed a haul line system and one attempt was made to raise the 1100-pound horse before dark, but the horse was too exhausted to climb during the raising attempt. Rescue efforts were discontinued until the next morning. Dickens tended the horse through the night. In the morning, rangers returned and rigged a haul system to haul the horse out. They were assisted on scene by a veterinarian, a county animal regulations supervisor, and a county officer. After onsite instruction, several bystanders and family members assisted with the haul team. At about 11 a.m., “Dakota” was successfully raised up the 50-60 degree, 40-foot-high slope. The horse was able to walk back to the trailhead without further assistance.  IC for the operation was Chris Mengel, custom horse harness builder was Charles Hardy. 



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