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National Park Service scales back search for Kim Crumbo, Ogden conservationist

By Tim Vandenack - | Oct 13, 2021

Kim Crumbo is pictured in this undated photo.

With weather conditions worsening, National Park Service officials have scaled back the search for Kim Crumbo, the Ogden man who went missing late last month during a visit with his brother to Yellowstone National Park.

“The park received a fair amount of snow over the weekend and is still under a blanket of snow at this point. Temperatures are in the 20s throughout most of the park,” an NPS representative said Wednesday.

Still, efforts aren’t over. “The park will continue limited search efforts as long as conditions allow this year,” the NPS said in a press release.

Crumbo — a nationally regarded conservationist, NPS retiree and former U.S. Navy Seal — was visiting the backcountry around Shoshone Lake with his brother Mark O’Neill last month when family reported them overdue from what was supposed to be a four-night trip. Crews subsequently found the body of O’Neill along the lake’s shore on Sept. 20, but efforts to search for Crumbo haven’t yielded results.

The three-week search for Crumbo, 74, has involved use of helicopters, boats, sonar technology and ground crews, according to the NPS.

“All of us at Yellowstone extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of both Mark and Kim,” said Cam Sholly, the Yellowstone superintendent. O’Neill, 67, who lived in Chimacum, Washington, died of hypothermia, according to the park service.

The latest NPS press release, issued Friday, said the incident is under investigation and didn’t provide additional particulars about what may have happened.

The disappearance of Crumbo, a board member of the Rewilding Institute and Wild Arizona, conservation organizations, has left friends, family and colleagues reeling. No one knows for sure what happened, but some suspect weather factored.

“Just generally kind of guess that some dramatic weather thing happened,” said Kelly Burke, the Wild Arizona executive director. Crumbo and O’Neill, who had also worked for the National Park Service, were both well-acquainted with the outdoors and managing in the outdoors.

Karin Lowrie, O’Neill’s wife, told The Port Townsend Leader newspaper in Washington that she suspects something out-of-the ordinary must have surprised them.

“She’s heard a lot of different theories about the accident, but her gut feeling is that the brothers were ‘caught in something very ugly,’ or ‘caught off-guard’,” the newspaper reported. O’Neill was found wearing a life jacket.

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