Impact of COVID-19: With Stay Home, Stay Safe recommendations impacting North Carolina, we are seeing a huge increase in visitors to the trails, National Parks and Wilderness Areas. With the increase in visitors, our call volumes are up as well. Your support will help us continue to provide lifesaving services during an especially busy time.

Where Your Money Goes…

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


Wilderness-trained volunteers supported


Average yearly requests for rescue assistance


Approximate volunteer hours logged last 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 be 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
    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

Nancy East,
Advisor / Educator

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. Reach out to us here:


PO BOX 443
Balsam, NC 28707