Where Your Money Goes…

WNC Wilderness Safety Fund supports search and rescue, wilderness education, and training in the WNC region, Haywood County in particular.

Click here to see up-to-date 2022 statistics


Wilderness-trained volunteers


Average yearly requests for rescue assistance


Training hours logged this year


Regular, high-quality training is essential to fielding teams of rescuers equipped to get the job done safely in the rugged backcountry of WNC.


Even well-trained teams can fail without the right equipment on hand. Volunteer wilderness search and rescue teams require safe, reliable ropes, rigging, and personal protective gear that needs to be replaced over time.


Safety doesn’t just happen when a rescue is required. Part of our mission is to provide training and speaking engagements to the greater WNC community to educate the public BEFORE an incident happens.

Primary Areas of Service

  • Shining Rock Wilderness
  • Middle Prong Wilderness
  • Graveyard Fields
    Portions of:
  • Pisgah National Forest
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Our Partners

Haywood County Search & Rescue

Our Board

Bill Zimmerman, President

Dean Coward, Secretary / Treasurer

Justin Padgett,

Kevin Fitzgerald,


WNC Wilderness Safety Fund — Supporting wilderness search and rescue operations in Western North Carolina.

Get in Touch

Interested in requesting a speaker for your civic organization, school, or non-profit? We are eager to help in any way we can. Reach out to us here:


PO BOX 443
Balsam, NC 28707