Conservation officers locate lost snowmobiler in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area

Contact: Lt. Todd Szyska, 313-396-6890
Agency: Natural Resources

Feb. 22, 2021

view of a snowmobile partially buried under snow on a trail in the forestA 49-year-old man is expected to make a full recovery after becoming lost Saturday in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, located in Oakland County, Michigan, while snowmobiling with his 54-year-old friend.

The two West Bloomfield men, who are not being named, began snowmobiling in the 3,745-acre recreation area around 3 p.m. Saturday. The 54-year-old man stopped at a meeting area, but his friend never arrived.

After an hour's search, the man contacted law enforcement for help, expressing increased concern about his missing friend’s health conditions.

Officer Roxanne Ostrowski, White Lake Township Police Department, received the call for help at 5:45 p.m. and contacted Thomas Bissett, Pontiac Lake Recreation Area supervisor, for assistance.

Due to the area’s difficult terrain and vast trail system, Bissett contacted local Department of Natural Resources conservation officers. Familiar with the maze of trails, Conservation Officers Danielle Zubek, Jacob Griffin and Christopher Knights used their DNR patrol snowmobiles to search the area.

At 6:48 p.m., with temperatures ranging in the low to mid-20s, Knights located the missing snowmobiler walking in snow about 2 feet deep near Maceday Lake Road and Cross Road.

Disoriented and displaying signs of hypothermia, the man said he got stuck on his snowmobile and abandoned it but was unsure where the snowmobile was.

Knights and Zubek escorted the man to waiting responders from STAR EMS and White Lake Township Fire Department. The snowmobiler was evaluated by EMS and refused additional medical attention before the friend who reported him missing arrived to take him home.

Zubek located the missing snowmobile around 10:30 a.m. Sunday on a track that had been covered in heavy snow.

“Everyone is grateful for the positive outcome and that the snowmobiler will fully recover,” said Sgt. Shane Webster, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “We are proud of the strong effort and professionalism from our conservation officers who were involved, along with the other first responders. A reminder to always have a plan when you go on snowmobile trips – make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are with and when you plan to return. Having a plan in place can save lives and ensure everyone has a positive and safe experience.”

Read more about snowmobile safety at Michigan.gov/RideRight.

Recruiting for 2021 academy

The DNR will be accepting applications for its upcoming conservation officer academy until Friday, Feb. 26.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect residents through general law enforcement and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

Snowmobile: Michigan DNR conservation officers located a lost snowmobiler in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area Saturday. The Oakland County man (expected to make a full recovery) had gotten stuck in deep snow and abandoned his sled, shown here after being located the next morning.