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The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, Inc. (MARG) is a volunteer search and rescue organization dedicated to saving lives in the outdoors.  Our missions include searching for and rescuing lost persons , primarily in the great outdoors.  We also assist with other outdoor emergencies including cave rescues and technical (requiring the use of rope) evacuations.  Our group is composed of experts in many fields including search tactics, search management, the Incident Command System, communications, and wilderness first aid. 


 MARG is a member of the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference (ASRC), a community of seven search and rescue groups spanning from Columbus, OH through the Blue Ridgearea of Virginia.   Although we conduct training locally, all of our members are tested in accordance with the standards of the ASRC.

Responsible Authority

The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group functions under the authority of the local agency responsible for search and rescue, for example the State Police, County Sheriff, Fire Department, Civil Air Patrol Mission Coordinator, Local Emergency Manager , or Park Superintendent. MARG will only conduct operations at the request of official agencies like these, and will directly support the agency.


A Mountaineer Area Rescue Group quick response team can be mobilized in an hour or less.  The composition of the team depends upon the nature of the mission. For a rescue operation, the quick response team is self-sufficient for 48 hours, and carries field portable first aid, communications, and rescue equipment appropriate to the situation.  

MARG can also provide an overhead team to help begin coordination and execution of a large-scale search operation.  Depending on the needs and desires of the agency having jurisdiction, we can provide advice, provide specific management help, or supervise all aspects of the search operation.  A number of members are graduates of the National Search and Rescue School, Yorktown, VA, as well as other nationally recognized courses in search management. 

We welcome the opportunity to train with other organizations interested in search and rescue techniques.  We can also provide assistance with search related training to interested emergency service organizations within our service area.  From time to time we sponsor regional training in topics like cave rescue, wilderness first aid, or advanced search management.

MARG also has community outreach programs to help teach people to avoid getting lost or what to do if they should find themselves lost. We provide preventative search and rescue education, such as the Hug-a-Tree children's program and a "Lost in the Woods" flyer. We also provide personal safety education, such as Wilderness First Aid classes. Often MARG is asked to provide radio communication and support services for events, such as 5-K races or the Coopers Rock Foundation's 50K and Half Marathon race.

Operational Area

The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group will respond to any location within a 2 hour drive of Morgantown, West Virginia.  Most of our members live in Monongalia and Preston Counties and the surrounding areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  We are available for emergencies in other areas depending on travel time and available transportation. ​

We work with many emergency services organizations across the region.  We will respond outside our normal service area in response to a mutual-aid request from any of these groups.

Excluded Services

The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group and ASRC have neither the equipment nor the intent to replace any of the services of established rescue squads, fire departments, or law enforcement agencies.  We provide specialized management and technical services in the outdoors, especially in rugged terrain. We consider our mission finished when the lost person or accident victim reaches a normally accessible area (i.e., a road).

We will assist law enforcement agencies with certain tasks, such as collection of evidence or search and recovery of crime victims in wilderness areas.  However, we will not be involved in any pursuit or apprehension of criminals nor participate in any high-risk or “tactical” searches involving fugitive recovery.