A Woodland Hills family is breathing a sigh of relief this week since the recovery of a mother who had been missing for almost two weeks. Holly Courtier, 38, was found alive October 18 in Zion National Park in Utah following an extensive search by friends, family, and law enforcement. Holly Courtier had arrived in the area of the park on October 6 by virtue of a private shuttle bus that was meant to pick her up from the park the same day. She did not make the return trip in the shuttle bus however. Park rangers were able to locate her after they received “a credible tip from a park visitor that they had seen Courtier within the park.” While the circumstances of her disappearance still remain murky, her family is overjoyed to have her back. Courtier’s family expressed their gratitude in a statement, “We would like to thank the rangers and search teams who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope. We are also so grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources, and support.”
Courtier’s story is not an isolated incident by any means. People go missing in national parks every year. When a person goes missing in a national park, the disappearance is usually attributed to the missing person having ran afoul of nature or misadventure, a non-human element that has caused them to come to harm and are unable to call for help. Data surrounding the exact amount of people who have disappeared in our national parks system is unreliable or inaccurate, depending on the source, because the government does not invest in resources for tracking these incidents. In the case of Holly Courtier, if she had not been located, her disappearance may have never entered a database. Courtier’s family may have had to settle for an educated guess by law enforcement that she was attacked by a wild animal. Courtier was luckily seen by another person visiting the park, leading to her safe recovery. The disappearances of persons in national parks over the years have concluded more favorably in recent years with improvements in technology and the amount of resources available to aid in searches in national parks. For Holly Courtier’s family, they now have the answers they need and their loved one back in their embrace.