UPDATE: Mushroom hunters found safe

May 3, 2013


BRANCH TWP. — Two morel mushroom hunters are safe this morning thanks in part to the efforts of personnel from the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and Branch Township Fire Department.

Emergency personnel were dispatched around 10 p.m. Thursday to the area of Budzynski Road and First Street in the Manistee National Forest for a report of two women lost in the woods. After a four hour search, Holly Spalding, 35, and Laurie VanNortwick, 50, both of Ludington were found.

Branch Fire Chief Steve McVicker said the search operation went smoothly. The department utilized its all terrain vehicle and one of its smaller trucks. “We would go a certain distance, stop, sound a siren and then listen. We eventually could hear them and just kept making our way closer to them,” McVicker said. He said they were found about a mile south of the railroad tracks near the Pere Marquette River.

“Be sure to know your area whenever you are out in the woods,” he said. “Always carry a compass and a flashlight with you.”

Chief Deputy Bob Brown said he wasn’t sure if they ended up finding mushrooms.

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