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ICYMI: Airs Tuesday: Squamish SAR—See the ultimate team of volunteers behind the scenes

Get an inside look at the dedication and challenges faced by the Squamish Search and Rescue team in a featured episode of ‘Search and Rescue: North Shore.’

If you have lived in Squamish for any length of time or have even visited, you may think that you know what Squamish Search and Rescue members do. 

After all, Squamish SAR are well known in the Sea to Sky Corridor as one of the busiest rescue organizations in the province.

Locals often read headlines about their latest calls to retrieve injured mountain bikers, climbers, stuck hikers, paragliders and others. 

But you don't know Squamish SAR like they are shown on the upcoming second episode of the new season of Search and Rescue: North Shore. 

The entire second episode of the second season, airing June 4, on Knowledge Network is dedicated to our local rescuers. 

In it, you see the coordination, professionalism and efficiency of the organization’s members.

Sue Nicholson, a retired nurse, is one of Squamish SAR’s volunteers featured in the episode. 

She also serves on the organization's board.

The footage shows her to be a devoted, skilled and invaluable member, as well as a dedicated mountain bike-riding grandma.

"I would hope that [viewers] would get the behind-the-scenes view of what goes on with North Shore and with Squamish [SAR] to see what our common [calls] are, and the uncommon ones, so they can understand what goes on," she said, adding that seeing what can go wrong while adventuring may prevent similar incidents.

"Hopefully, we can save some lives and prevent some of these things from happening in the future. But also [show] the impacts these rescues have on family,friends and volunteers to mitigate some of that as well."

The calls and their outcomes clearly take a toll on the volunteers, especially in a close-knit community like Squamish, where those being rescued can be strangers, neighbours, friends, acquaintances or colleagues.

Nicholson noted that in 2023, Squamish SAR answered 126 calls, which was slightly less than in some previous years, but three more than in 2022. 

The team currently has 80 volunteers, the most it has ever had, but there has also been turnover as members moved out of the district. 

The sometimes edge-of-your-seat dramatic footage in the episode was shot two summers ago. 

Asked how she felt seeing herself on screen when the team got to preview the episode, Nicholson said it was "odd," but she felt humbled and honoured to be in the show. 

In terms of doing the work of rescuing injured adventurers with cameras filming, she said it didn't faze her. 

"It was a scramble always coming out the door to get a camera on our helmets and a mic down our shirts. But you know, we're kind of hardwired to just respond to the task and not be distracted by anything that's going on around us," she said, noting that the film crew were talented and respectful throughout.

"Our team just kept going, and they kind of danced around us. You know, it felt like business as usual, honestly."

Together is better

Without giving away any spoilers from the episode, the show also highlights the strong relationship the various other first responder agencies have with SAR, from the RCMP, to Squamish Fire Rescue, the BC Ambulance Service, and their sister rescue agencies, such as North Shore Rescue. 

"We work closely, and we respect them and enjoy the opportunity to work together," Nicholson said.

The episode also showcases the incredible landscapes and technically challenging areas of the corridor that the team is called to.

It takes an incredible amount of training, equipment, resources and finances to perform some of the rescues Squamish SAR is called to, Nicholson said.

The series is directed and produced by Silvapark Films’ Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer.

"The complicated retrievals the teams are performing are incredible to see, and we wanted to document more of the process for how these are done—ultimately giving the audience a real sense of what is involved with the rescues they see on the news,” said Baldwin, in a news release. “Modern-day innovative technology, equipment and teamwork with other first responder organizations are helping both [North Shore Rescue] and Squamish SAR save lives, and we’re proud to continue to highlight these inspiring stories for Season 2.” 

The season will air on Knowledge Network on Tuesdays from May 28 to June 25 at 8 p.m. . It will also be available to stream for free across Canada at and on the Knowledge Network app. 

The big Defender reveal

Nicholson said the Land Rover Defender 130, which the team won in the Search, Rescue and Emergency Services category of the 2023 Defender Service Awards in the fall, has been decked out and picked up by the local team. There will be a community celebration of the arrival. Stay tuned to the team's Facebook and Instagram for details.

How to support Squamish SAR

Squamish SAR is an entirely volunteer-run organization that depends on donations from the government, corporations and individuals. 

In addition to collecting donations for their continued operations, Nicholson said that Squamish SAR has to leave their current home base near Brennan Park Recreation Centre when its lease expires, so will be moving in April 2026. 

"We have an opportunity for some land, but we don't have a building. So it's a millions-of-dollars capital project," she said. 

Support the team by donating on the organization's website.

**Please note that this story has been corrected since it was first posted. In two instances, North Shore Rescue was referred to as North Shore Search and Rescue in the original story. The Squamish Chief apologizes for this error.

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