November 16, 2017
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office has initiated search efforts for an overdue elk hunter in the forlorn lakes area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Joel Presler, 37 years of age from Vancouver last had contact with family on Saturday November 11th. Presler is reported to be familiar with the area having hunted around Forlorn lakes from many years. Presler is believed to be in good health, no known medical issues.
Deputies conducted a road search on Wednesday, November 15th and located Presler’s 2004 Ford pickup on forest road 6035. There is approximately 24 inches of snow in the area the pickup was located. Deputies found no evidence that Presler had been at the vehicle or around the vehicle in the past couple of days.
Search efforts will include ground teams in the Indian Heaven Wilderness and snowmobile teams covering the roads north and east of Forlorn lakes.
It is not believed that Presler would hike in and camp away from the vehicle.
Searchers are faced with fresh snow in the search area with low temperatures and snow falling. The today’s forecast calls for an additional 6 to 10 inches of snow.
The base for search operations will be at the junction of forest road 24 and forest road 60 near the Peterson Prairie campground.