DNR locate missing Manistique hikers in Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest is more than 2250 square miles in area

Lake Michigan, Mich.
Lake Michigan, Mich.

HIAWATHA NATIONAL FOREST, Mich. – Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers -- with Michigan State Police troopers and Sault Tribe Law Enforcement -- located two missing Manistique hikers Thursday in Hiawatha National Forest.

"There's not a lot of law enforcement in this remote area," said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. "Our officers have strong expertise based on training and experience when it comes to searching for missing people. We also had some young officers involved in this search and they did an outstanding job."

The missing hikers were both men in their 60s. According to authorities, the men told their wives Wednesday that they would be hiking and planned to return by 7 p.m. When the men -- both diabetic and with heart conditions -- did not return, the women called 911.

Manistique Public Safety received the call and contacted the DNR at about 9 p.m.

The DNR was assisted with MSP K-9 units and Sault Tribe Law Enforcement officers. Due to storms, a helicopter was unable to assist in the search. 

GPS data provided by cellphone use proved to be inaccurate and officers used the missing men's wives to help locate the hikers.

"Manistique Public Safety interviewed one of the hikers' wives multiple times, receiving additional details about the two men each time," Conservation Officer Mike Evink said. "We were able to use the information to build a ‘lost person behavior' profile."

Both of the men were found Thursday in good condition but hungry, police said, as they had no supplies for their extended day.

"Thunderstorms were rolling in the entire time," Evink said. "We got them out of the woods right before some really nasty rain and storms came in. Weather and the hikers' medical conditions definitely increased the sense of urgency."