The National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch is searching for a San Jose resident believed to be missing from the northern section of Yosemite National Park after he did not contact his parents in Manteca last week.
Scott Tenczar, 48, an avid outdoorsman and a former U.S. Army Ranger who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan about 15 years ago, was last seen at the Bridgeport Ranger Station in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on July 25.
His family was not giving up hope that he might be found, his brother, Matt Tenczar, of San Jose said on Wednesday.
“I don't know if he's lost up there or he's hurt, and I don't know if he doesn't want to be found. There's a lot of possibilities,” Matt Tenczar said. “He went on a hike and disappeared. It's just like that. We have no information, no notes from him, nothing.”
None of them believed that he would purposefully disappear, Matt Tenczar said, but it was disconcerting that no sign of him had yet been found besides his car, cell phone, wallet and keys where he left them at the Bridgeport Ranger Station.
“Obviously, we’re very distressed about the fact that we have no knowledge, no sightings, no information, nothing,” he said. That's why I keep talking to people. I want to make sure the story was out there.”
Scott Tenczar, who is about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and 185 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes, was known to wear army-colored (olive-drab green, tan and camouflage) clothing and carry fishing gear, a Yosemite National Forest Service press release stated.
A Yosemite National Forest Service spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
According to the press release, Scott Tenczar set out from the Bridgeport Ranger Station in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, where he planned to backpack from Robinson Creek to Crown Lake. Scott Tenczar then planned to travel into the Matterhorn Canyon, which is south of Slide Mountain and through where part of the Pacific Crest Trail traverses.
From there, he planned to go to Smedberg Lake, just north of Volunteer Peak and along the Pacific Crest Trail to Seavey Pass, which is at an elevation of 9,058 feet and located 1.6 miles northeast of Piute Mountain. From there, Scott Tenczar planned to return to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest at Peeler Lake before completing his trip around Aug. 8, his brother said.
None of the areas that Scott Tenczar planned to traverse are near the Ferguson Fire, which is to the south of the national park. The area where Scott Tenczar planned to hike was north of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, in a remote area of the park.
When Scott Tenczar did not contact his parents on Aug. 8 or 9, they called National Park Service, which initiated the search on Aug. 11, Matt Tenczar said.
Matt Tenczar added that he believed a ranger may have spoken to Scott Tenczar on either Aug. 1 or Aug. 2, because his permit was set to expire on that date.
Matt Tenczar lauded the park service for its diligent search and use of helicopters, but said, “unfortunately they can't keep it going forever, so they said without any physical evidence, either backpacks or anything like that, then they do have to suspend the search.”
Overall, his brother’s disappearance is “uncharacteristic,” Matt Tenczar said.
“He is highly experienced in that area. He probably hiked that trail dozens of times. We've been going up to that area since we were just kids,” he said.
He was a captain in the U.S. Army. After his tour in Afghanistan, Scott Tenczar taught English in South Korea to kids and adults for many years.
“A few years after that, he started to come back to this area and he wanted to start making a life here,” Matt Tenczar said.
Scott Tenczar has been living with his parents in Manteca, he said. The family is still holding out hope that his survival skills will keep him alive in the wilderness.
“Army rangers, that's what they are trained to do,” he said.
Anybody who may have seen Scott Tenczar or has information on his whereabouts should contact the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch at (888) 653-0009.