Kotzebue musher lost in Interior Alaska gets assist from troopers

A dog team sits in the snow in front of sooome small hills
An Alaska Wildlife Trooper and BLM ranger care for James Foster’s sled dogs. (Alaska State Troopers)

A Kotzebue dog musher received assistance from the Alaska State Troopers after becoming lost on the way to a cabin northeast of Fairbanks.

Troopers received a report at just before 4:30 a.m. Monday that 25-year-old James Foster was missing from the McKay Creek Trailhead, near Milepost 42 of the Steese Highway, en route to the Cache Mountain cabin. 

Officials dispatched a wildlife trooper and a HELO-2 rescue helicopter out of Fairbanks to find Foster, who had planned to arrive at Cache Mountain Sunday evening. He was located near the Wickersham Creek Trail Shelter, about 18 miles from his destination. Troopers informed him of his position and left to refuel. 

When troopers returned, Foster remained in the same location and showed signs of hypothermia. Officials started a fire and helped Foster care for his dogs. Foster refused to leave with the rescue helicopter. 

A wildlife trooper and Bureau of Land Management ranger arrived to assist, and led Foster and his dogs back to the trailhead while the helicopter returned to Fairbanks. All parties were reported safe.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.