Hiker who departed from Oracle area found dead

Tucson Local Media (Jun 29, 2021) by Ireland Stevenson

A hiker was found dead after embarking on the Arizona Trail near Oro Valley, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office reported last week. 

71-year-old John “Jack” Menard started his hike on June 17. His hike itinerary included starting from American Flag Ranch in Oracle to the Gordon Hirabayashi Campground (about 18 miles south of Mount Lemmon), where he planned to be picked up on June 20. 

Menard never showed up to the meeting location. He was then declared missing, so search and rescue deputies were dispatched along with assistance from Southern Arizona Rescue Association. 

Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue, Pima County Sheriff’s Department Air Unit, Pima Regional resources, Park Enforcement Search & Rescue, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were all utilized in the extensive three-day search for Menard. 

Menard was located deceased, approximately three miles northwest of the Gordon Hirabayashi Camp ground.

“The Pima County Sheriff’s Department extends our deepest sympathies to the Menard family on the loss of their loved one,” PCSD officials said in a news release. 

The cause of death was not immediately known on the scene, PCSD says. But, on the day Menard began the hike, the temperature in Tucson reached 113 degrees. 

While this week’s weather forecast calls for highs below 100 degrees this week with a chance of thunderstorms, local agencies are preparing for high temps to return later this summer. The City of Tucson and Pima County have established cooling locations to help keep residents cool and hydrated. 

The City of Tucson had opened six air-conditioned cooling centers across town during June’s heat wave and has plans to reopen them if temperatures reach more than 110 degrees. 

Other locations throughout the county will run by the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Office for Pima County, which will provide emergency shelters in the event of an emergency that displaces residents from their homes. These emergencies could occur for a number of reasons during times of extreme temperatures, such as power outages and fires. These locations include the Catalina Recreation Center, Pima County Fairgrounds, Ajo Community Center, the University of Arizona Campus and various locations within local school districts. 

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