Bryan Skilinski and Great Sand Dunes National Park: A Cautionary Tale

An Oswego County outdoorsman with military training who was rescued in February after becoming lost in a national park has been found dead after becoming lost again in the same national park.

National Park Service officials said Bryan Skilinski, a graduate of John C. Birdlebough High School, Phoenix, was hiking in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in May when he lost his way. Search parties were sent out, but Mr. Skilinski was not found. Park service officials said the search “covered 14 square miles of rugged terrain in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area around Mount Herard, a 13,345-foot peak in the preserve.”

Hikers found a body Monday in the park and notified officials. Park Service officials said the body was found near Milwaukee Peak in the National Preserve and efforts were initiated to recover the body. Due to deep, heavy snow at lower elevations, the area where Mr. Skilinski was located had not been searched by teams.

Milwaukee Peak

The coroner’s office has not released a cause of death in the case and the incident remains under investigation. No foul play is suspected, park service officials said.

Mr. Skilinski made the news back in February when he spent five nights lost in the same national park in southern Colorado, according to the Denver Post. Search parties that found him in February were amazed he was in such good condition because he had spent five nights in below-zero temperatures with no winter gear.
[Local News Story]

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