Students learn wilderness first aid at boundary of Yellowstone

Participants in a wilderness first aid course held earlier this month in Gardiner, Mont. take turns as patients and rescuers while simulating a variety of scenarios.

© Kathy Lichtendahl

Participants in a wilderness first aid course held earlier this month in Gardiner, Mont. take turns as patients and rescuers while simulating a variety of scenarios.

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park’s north entrance earlier this month may have wondered what disaster had struck the small town of Gardiner, Mont.

But the “patients” and “rescuers” scattered around the Yellowstone Association building just outside Roosevelt Arch were all part of a 2-day wilderness first aid course being offered by the Wilderness Medicine Institute, part of the National Outdoor Leadership School.

The class was taught through the Yellowstone Association Institute out of their Gardiner offices.

The Wilderness Medicine Institute defines wilderness medicine as, among other things, a situation in which the patient is at least an hour from definitive medical care.

Since that describes many of the trails in Yellowstone Park and the surrounding ecosystem, it is not surprising that the Yellowstone Association has opted to provide several opportunities for students to learn the skills called for in a wilderness medical situation.

The Yellowstone Association Institute works as a partner to the National Park Service, offering classes and educational opportunities for people to learn more about human interaction with the natural world.

The Yellowstone Association is offering another wilderness first aid course May 14-15 at a cost of $260. Visit the Association’s website for more details.

Kathy Lichtendahl is a freelance photographer dedicated to the West and its natural wonders. She is a graduate of the Photographic Communications program at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., and is a member of the National Press Photographer’s Association and the Montana Professional Photographers Association.

Cold temperatures and winter conditions add a sense of urgency to wilderness first aid scenarios during a course near Yellowstone National Park.

© Kathy Lichtendahl

Cold temperatures and winter conditions add a sense of urgency to wilderness first aid scenarios during a course near Yellowstone National Park.

Students discuss what they have learned after a wilderness first aid training session outside the Yellowstone Association building in Gardiner, Montana.

©Kathy Lichtendahl

Students discuss what they have learned after a wilderness first aid training session outside the Yellowstone Association building in Gardiner, Montana.

Wilderness Medicine Institute instructor Tate Higgins demonstrates a "sling and swath" on a student.

©Kathy Lichtendahl

Wilderness Medicine Institute instructor Tate Higgins demonstrates a "sling and swath" on a student.

Wilderness Medicine Institute instructor Julie Henningsen checks color, sensation and movement on a "patient's" foot during a wilderness first aid course.

©Kathy Lichtendahl

Wilderness Medicine Institute instructor Julie Henningsen checks color, sensation and movement on a "patient's" foot during a wilderness first aid course.

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