Seattle Mountain Rescue Finds its First Home in North Bend

North Bend will be home to its first-ever Mountain Rescue Center (MRC) this summer.

On June 3, Seattle Mountain Rescue (SMR) celebrated its 75th anniversary and the grand opening of the MRC.

Those on hand included past and present volunteers, friends, and family, with Mayor McFarland, who was joined by Congresswoman Kim Schrier, State Representative Lisa Callan, and King County Councilmember Sarah Perry. Special guest Austrian Consul Eva Kammel presented gifts to the founder’s family and current Chair of SMR, Doug McCall.

In 2020, SMR began renovating a dilapidated building in North Bend that was not fit for use, with the dream of one day transforming it into a fully operational, year-round rescue center. After three years, thousands of volunteer hours, and financial support from Washington State and private donors, the nonprofit organization’s dream has become a reality.

SMR chose the location of the rescue center carefully. “Having a central location near where we respond to a bulk of needs makes sense,” said Interim Development Director Annie Walters. “A great deal of missions are along the I-90 corridor, and North Bend provides ready access.” Ms. Walters added, “North Bend’s Mountain town vibe fits well with our mission, and of course, our team.”

Mayor McFarland commented, “North Bend is the natural location for MRC being we are the premier outdoor recreation destination in the Puget Sound Region as being the gateway to the Cascades. Our proximity to five of the most popular Cascade hiking trails and numerous mountain climbs makes this volunteer service a perfect complement to our outdoor access.”

SMR is a volunteer organization that relies heavily on expertly trained, highly skilled alpinists that donate many hours with little to no notice and help outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom are on and near local trailheads. The nonprofit began in 1948 with a mission of saving lives through search, rescue, and mountain safety education.

The rescue center will provide a central location and support the volunteers that make SMR a reality, offering a safe place to decompress after stressful missions. In addition, it will serve as a place to store equipment, as an education center in conjunction with their partner organizations, and as a repository for historic SMR artifacts. The organization will begin hosting wildland first aid and first responder courses this fall.

“This building will help us do the best we can to ensure that everybody comes home from the backcountry,” said Ms. Walters.

The city helped the MRC finish by working with SMR through the permitting process, and Mayor McFarland partnered with state representatives for funding support. To learn more about the MRC, visit

[Information provided by the City of North Bend]

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