After a two and a half day search for a missing hiker from North Dakota, Gallatin County Search & Rescue has located the body of the hiker northwest of West Yellowstone.

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office
Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office


At 11:30 this morning a search team including a K9 discovered body of the hiker, identified as Mike Petersen of Bismark, North Dakota a quarter mile south of the confluence of Beaver and West Fork Creeks. A Gallatin County Sheriff’s Coroner will determine cause of death.

The search began on Sunday when the hiker did not return from a hike in the Beaver Creek area. Mr. Petersen has been in the Beaver Creek area several times, and knew the area and had back country experience. He left on his hike with enough survival equipment to stay in the forest and signal for help.

Mondays ground search efforts consisted of search crews from Gallatin County Search & Rescue, West Yellowstone, Big Sky, National Forest Service Personnel, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, and three K-9 dog search teams.

Tuesday’s continued search efforts involved the same personnel from Monday with additional air resources from Central Helicopter. There were more than 40 searchers on the ground trying to locate the hiker.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s office would like to offer his condolences to the family of this tragic accident and to thank all of the volunteers who came together in this very large scale search and rescue event.  Sheriff Gootkin commented that in the last few weeks water tragedies are all to common.  He said

“Especially this time of year when water levels are high extra caution around water is needed.”

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