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Michigan Backcountry Search and Rescue (MibSAR)
Michael Neiger's bio page

Michael Neiger was born in Petoskey, Michigan in 1953. Before he moved to Marquette with his family in 1959, he lived in Pellston, Michigan, just south of the Mackinac Bridge.
   He has two brothers and one sister, and resides in Marquette, Michigan, along the south shore of Lake Superior.
   When he's not in the bush on a wilderness expedition or SAR mission, he enjoys blogging, brushing up on his bush skills, working on his kit, and pouring over detailed quads and satellite images in anticipation of an upcoming expedition or mission.
   • E-mail him
   • Read his blog
   • View photos, videos,
       & journals dozens
       of his past trips,
       expeditions, and
      SAR operations

Michael's favorites...

   Brook trout
   Bald eagle
   Timber wolf

A lone timber wolf visited Michael's bivouac site on a remote paddling trip along the north shore of Lake Superior. (Photo by Michael Neiger)


Twin moose calves greet Michael while paddling up the Aubinadong River in Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Michael Neiger)

   Trench with improv roof 
   Long-range, off-trail
   land navigation and
   shed collecting

An early season paddle along the Pigeon River in Otsego County, Michigan yields a fresh elk shed for Michael. (Photo by Ken Rizzio)

Expedition rucksack:
   Dana Designs Astralplane

Michael's 13,000-c.i., heavily-retroed Dana Designs Astralplane. (Photo by Mary Powell)

Expedition shelter system:
   10' by 10' sil-nylon tarp
   and bivouac sack
Water treatment:
   Portable Aqua iodine tablets
Synthetic underwear
   Patagonia Capilene
3-season recon stove:
   Esbit NATO pocket stove
   with hexamine solid-fuel
Biting-insect repellent:
   Muskol 100% DEET &
   a Native-American smudge...

Using his lightweight woodstove as a smudge, Michael thwarts hordes of biting insects on a 1997 Canadian wilderness canoe trip. (Photo by Michael Neiger)

Lock-blade folder
   Swiss Army Outrider knife
Big-bellied bowie knife:
   Marine Raider Bowie

15" SP-10 Marine Raider Bowie Spec-Plus by Ontario Knife Co.

Big-bore tactical sidearm:
   Glock .40

.40 caliber Glock
Model 22 pistol

Bushwhacking boots:
   All-leather Vasque
   Summit GTX
3-season bedroll:
   Plus-20 North Face
   Cat's Meow

Foul-weather rain gear:
   North Face Gore-tex
Winter expedition stove:
   MSR XGK-II shakerjet
Arctic expedition over-suit:
   North Ridge Expedition

30-below and all is well for Michael in the Canadian bush in February '08 thanks to a NOLS-designed North Ridge Expedition Over-Parka & Over-Pants by Travelite, worn under a white EXP Arctic windsuit. (Photo by Gail Staisil)

Arctic expedition wind suit:
   EXP Arctic anorak & pants
   by Northern Outfitters
Winter expedition footwear:
   Handmade mukluks with
   18 mm wool felt liners
Expedition snowshoes:
   13" by 72" Cree-style
Winter expedition bedroll:
   Minus-40 North Face
   Dark Star
in a bivouac sack
Baseplate compass:
   Silva 54 Combi

Silva 54 Combi orienteering compass with 0.5 degree optical prism sighting module and NATO tritium illumination for night ops.

Wrist compass:
   Custom-made, wrist-mounted
   Sunnto baseplate compass
SERE compass:
   Francis Barker
   Model 1605 NATO SERE

The brass, dime-sized, Francis Barker Model 1605 NATO Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Compass has tritium illumination for night ops.

Pacing system
   U.S. Army Ranger
   pace-counting beads

Expeditioning canoe:
   14' Mohawk Odyssey

Michael and his 14' R-84 Royalite Mohawk Odyssey on a SAR op in the Lake Superior watershed. (Photo by Michael Neiger)

Flat-water paddle:
   50" Barton carbon
   fiber bent-shaft
Heavy-water paddle:
   58" Bob Foote
Bush pastel:

Miners Castle in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. (Pastel by Susan Roubal, Michael's wonderfully-talented sister)





Seek not
the wilderness trip
of a lifetime,
but a lifetime
of wilderness tripping.

—Michael's credo

Contents of this page:

   • Law enforcement experience
   • Training & study
   • Education
   • Professional affiliations
   • Physical fitness
   • Wilderness tripping experi
   • Notable wilderness expeditions
   • Publication
   • Web site design & hosting
   • Blogging
   • Field testing
   • Instruction
   • References



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Law enforcement experience

Michael Neiger is a 25-year veteran of the Michigan Department of State Police.

As a road trooper, he was stationed at the Manistique Post in Manistique, Michigan as well as the Metro-Detroit Freeway Post in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

After transferring to the State Police forensic crime laboratory system, Michael was promoted to the rank of detective sergeant.

Michael working an
all-nighter at an exhumation crime scene. (Photo by his unflappable partner, D/Sgt. Tom Heslip)

During his decades of forensic crime laboratory service, he was stationed at the Madison Heights Crime Lab and Sterling Heights Crime Lab in the Detroit Metropolitan Area before being assigned to the Marquette Crime Lab in the Upper Peninsula.

Michael spent most of his career documenting, processing, and analyzing physical evidence, either in a forensic laboratory setting or out in the field, while investigating major crime scenes involving:
  • Multiple-victim homicides
  • Shootings & stabbings
  • Bank robberies & hostage situations
  • Kidnappings & extortions
  • Bombings
  • Rapes & assaults
  • Counterfeiting
  • Smuggling
  • Burglaries & thefts
  • Prison crimes

The courthouse in Marquette, Michigan was built of Lake Superior red sandstone in 1902.
(Photo by Calvin Beale)

His work product—physical evidence; detailed evidence-analysis reports; crime scene notes, sketches, drawings, photographs, and reports; and expert-witness testimony—has been admitted into evidence in 100s of felony prosecutions in a number of judicial jurisdictions:
  • US Federal Court
Michigan Circuit Court
  • Michigan District Court
  • Michigan Probate Court
  • Wayne County Recorders Court
  • Canadian Provincial Court


When you're receiving flak,
you're probably over the target.


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Training & study

Throughout his life, Michael Neiger has strived to improve his knowledge and skills through higher education, formalized training programs, correspondence courses, intense on-the-job training, helpful senior partners, patient mentors, consultants, periodicals, books, and Internet resources.

His areas of interest and study include:

Crime scenes
  • Security & management
  • Scene photography
  • Evidence (macro) photography
  • Scene documentation
  • Evidence search, collection, packaging, & transport
  • Processing & removing bodies
  • Autopsy protocols
  • Scene reconstruction
  • Re-examining/re-constructing old scenes

  • Criminal investigation
  • Interview & interrogation
  • Criminal law
  • Search warrant processing
  • Search and seizure
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Forensic computer exams
  • Internet investigations
  • Tactical marksmanship
  • Weapons care & operation
  • Defensive tactics
  • Accident scene investigation & reconstruction
  • Note-taking & report writing

Search & rescue
  • Incident command
  • Crisis management
  • SAR documentation
  • Missing-person behavior
  • Man-tracking
  • Sign-cutting
  • Grid searching
  • Urban first aid & CPR
  • Wilderness First Aid (WFA)
  • Advanced life saving & water safety

Land navigation
  • Advanced map & compass
  • Dead reckoning
  • Pace counting
  • UTM coordinate system
  • Global positioning system (GPS)
  • Mapping & charting

Wilderness skills
  • Wilderness survival
  • Fire-building & maintenance
  • Water treatment
  • Biting insect management
  • Improvised river & lake crossings with rucksack
  • Brush-hut construction
  • Pinned-canoe recovery
  • Knots & ropes
  • Snow-shelter construction
  • Ice travel & rescue

Wilderness expeditioning
  • Long-range, multi-week expeditioning
  • Insertion & extraction logistics
  • Ration planning & packaging
  • Off-trail travel
  • Foul weather travel & bivouacking
  • Swift-water paddling
  • Open-water paddling
  • Arctic expeditioning
  • Snowshoeing at 40° below
  • Bivouacking at 40° below
  • Arctic-grade clothing & gear
  • Sledge (cargo pulk) man-hauling

Note: While Michael is a student of military literature, equipment, tactics, and strategies—and sometimes draws on the expertise of active or retired members of the Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, Navy Seals, Marines, etc.—often citing same in his writings, he has never served in any of the armed forces.


In the school of the woods
there is no graduation day.
—Horace Kephart, 1917


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Michael Neiger completed his undergraduate studies at Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette, Michigan, graduating with an A.S. and B.S. degree in Criminal Justice.

He completed his graduate studies at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, Michigan, graduating with an M.S. in Criminal Justice and a Ph.D. in Political Science.

Some people
dream of worthy accomplishments,
stay awake and do them.



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Professional affiliations

Michael Neiger is certifed by the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) as a SARTECH II and a SARTECH III.

He's also a special Deputy with the Marquette County Sheriff's Office
in Marquette, Michigan as well as a member of the Marquette County Community Emergency Response Team.

Michael is a member in good standing with the following professional organizations:

  • National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR)
  • International Society of Professional Trackers (ISPT)
  • International Association of Cold Case Investigators (IACCI)
  • International Crime Scene Investigation Association (ICSIA)
  • International Homicide Investigators Association (IHIA)


Those who can,
Those who can do more,


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Physical fitness

Since staying in peak physical condition—both muscularly and aerobically—is an essential component of long-range, long-term wilderness expeditioning as well as SAR operations in remote wilderness, Michael Neiger spends 6 out of every 7 days training and working out.

Weight training

A couple days a week, Michael works to improve his muscular fitness by pumping iron, either at Joe's Gym—The Strength of the North—or at Northern Michigan University's Physical Education Instructional Facility (PEIF).

His whole-body, hour-long workouts alternate—every few weeks—between muscular strength and muscular endurance routines.

Since a powerful core is the key to achieving and maintaining peak performance, he begins most sessions with four trunk exercises to strengthen the lower abdominals, upper abdominals, oblique abdominals, and lower back.

Cardiovascular training

Four to five days a week, Michael works to improve his cardiovascular fitness through a variety of means.
  • An hour-long, fast-paced run on level foot trails.
  • An hour-long session of intense intervals: running all-out up ten steep hills, recovering with a slow-paced jog between each hill.
  • A two- to five-hour-long, trail run up, down, and around Marquette Mountain, which towers over his home in Marquette.
  • 1,400- to 2,400-meter swim workouts.

During the winter, he duplicates these cardio workouts at Northern Michigan University (NMU), running the bleachers and track in the NMU Wildcats' Superior Dome; training on a treadmill, elliptical cross-trainer, stair-stepper, recumbent bicycle, or rowing machine in the (PIEF); or swimming laps in NMU's 25-yard-long pool.

As his schedule permits, he periodically participates in long-distance wilderness trail races--especially 26-mile marathons and 50- to 62-mile ultra-marthons--across the Midwest.







Remember that one man [woman]
is much the same as another,
and that he [she] is best
who is trained in the severest school.
 —Thucydides, Greek General, 460-400 B.C.
History of the Peloponnesian War


Top of page
Wilderness tripping experience

Michael Neiger was introduced to the bush and wilderness tripping as a young boy by his parents, Arthur and Virginia, who were avid, outdoors-oriented individuals.

Michael learned many of his wilderness skills early in life with his brother Dave at his dad's log cabin on Long Lake in Ontario, Canada. (Pastel by Susan [Neiger] Roubal)

Thanks to his upbringing, he enjoys wilderness trips and expeditions in Michigan, Canada, and Alaska.

Working the bush via backpack, canoe, ski, snowshoe, or mountain bike, Michael often spends upwards of 100 nights a year in the bush, sleeping on the ground in a bivouac sack under a tarp.

He has organized or led trips and expeditions for the School for Outdoor Leadership, Adventure, and Recreation (SOLAR); Michigan Sierra Club; Michigan Bush Rats; and Michigan Backcountry Search and Rescue.

Excluding day trips, he has participated in or organized 100s of multi-day wilderness trips and expeditions since 1984.

Over the course of those trips, Michael's bag nights in the bush exceeds 1,800.

His wilderness trips and expeditions have been featured by a number of media outlets:

  • Detroit Free Press
  • Michigan Out-of-Doors
Grand Rapids Press
Marquette Monthly

  • WLUC TV-6


There's no such thing as bad weather,
only wrong clothes.


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Notable wilderness expeditions

Forty-below temps frost up Michael's timber wolf fur ruff on an expedition to the Arctic Ocean [James Bay on lower Hudson Bay]. (Photo by Michael Neiger)

In addition to organizing wilderness trips and expeditions for over 25 years, Michael also enjoys the challenge of long-distance, unsupported, solo tripping in remote, unspoiled areas of Canada.

In January of 1998, he completed a two-week, unsupported, solo ski expedition to the Arctic Ocean, pulling a 160-pound sledge for 120 miles along the Abitibi and Moose Rivers to reach Moosonee, a Cree Indian village on James Bay (lower Hudson Bay) in northern Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1673, Moosonee is Ontario's oldest, non-native settlement.

In 2009, he completed a 9-day expedition on the Moose River, snowshoeing from Moose River Crossing to James Bay.

Winter expeditioning in remote Canadian bush—particularly in and around the Agawa Canyon—is one of Michael's favorite activities. (Photo by Gary De Kock)

Michael has also paddled solo from the Lake Superior area to the Arctic Ocean, retracing an old, historic, 360-mile-long voyageur route.

Michael at High Falls on the Aux Sauble River in Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Marty Short)

In addition to paddling dozens of Canadian rivers, he has completed two, multi-week-long, paddling trips along the remote, north shore of Lake Superior.

He has also skied solo and unsupported across Michigan's Upper Peninsula twice.


It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest.
  —Henry D. Thoreau, 1817-1862
   Walden: Conclusion, 1856


Top of page

Michael enjoys writing and research. During his career with the Michigan State Police, Michael founded and edited the Crime Laboratory Update (CLU), a forensic-oriented print publication read by prosecutors, medical examiners, law enforcement administrators, criminal justice professors, detectives, federal agents, and officers across northern Michigan.


A prolific freelance writer, his wilderness-skills columns and outdoor-related articles have been published in a wide variety of publications:
Detroit Free Press
  • Michigan Out-of-doors
Silent Sports
Mining Journal
Upper Michigan Outdoor Journal
  • Marquette Monthly
Solar Ray
The Mackinac
The Muir View

In his free time, Michael labors on detailed, map-based guidebooks for the Grand Island National Recreation Area and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, both of which are located along the south shore of Lake Superior, east of his home in Marquette.

Learn as if you were going to live forever.
Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.


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Web site design & hosting


Michael Neiger is a Web site designer.

In addition to designing and maintaining this Web site, he also maintains missing-person Web sites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 .






Because the search must continue,
...so loved ones aren't left behind.
—MibSAR's credo

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Michael Neiger blogs daily about search-and-rescue as well as wilderness-expeditioning subjects on his Spec Ops Blog.


Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.
—Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962
Civil rights advocate, author, speaker, politician, activist, humanitarian, & diplomat
Wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Field testing

Michael Neiger has field tested outdoor gear for Sierra Designs, the AltaMate Co., MapTech, Eureka, Brooks-Range, and a Patagonia retail outlet.

Manufacturers of tents, sleeping bags, mountaineering gear, snowshoes, crampons, arctic-grade mukluks, and sleds have consulted Michael on design innovations and product development.





When you cease to make a contribution,
...you begin to die.
—Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962
Civil rights advocate, author, speaker, politician, and activist
Wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt


Top of page


Michael practices creating fire-by-friction with a bow, drill, socket, hearth, and tinder, all of which were gathered and fashioned in the bush, along the Fox River, south of Seney, Michigan. (Photo by Gail Staisil)

Michael Neiger has taught winter camping and wilderness survival courses for the Boy Scouts of America, Northern Michigan University (NMU), and the School for Outdoor Leadership, Adventure, and Recreation (SOLAR).

Michael's also helped train and outfit members of two North Pole expeditions.








Wisdom has two parts:
having a lot to say, and not saying it.


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Michael Neiger

Michael Neiger's personal information—his date of birth, drivers license number, vehicle license number, and fingerprints—is available upon request for background clearance checks through the following criminal justice system information networks:
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
  • Michigan State Police Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
  • Michigan State Police Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)

Reference contact information is available upon request for a variety of criminal justice system professionals including:
  • Forensic pathologist, Marquette County
  • Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Marquette County
  • Sheriff, Marquette County
  • Sheriff, Chippewa County
  • Judge, Marquette County Circuit Court
  • Bailiff, Marquette County Circuit Court
  • Marquette Crime Lab Director, Michigan State Police
  • Negaunee Post Commander, Michigan State Police
  • Bomb Squad, Marquette Crime Lab, Michigan State Police
  • K-9 handler, Negaunee Post, Michigan State Police
  • Chief of Detectives, 8th District, Michigan State Police
  • SWAT team, Michigan State Police
  • Leading U.P. defense attorney, Marquette

Nature never deceives us;
it is always we who deceive ourselves.
—Jean J. Rousseau, 1712-1778, Emile, 1762


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In God's wilderness
lies the hope of the world,
the great, fresh, unblighted,
unredeemed wilderness.

 — John Muir, 1838-1914
Alaska Wilderness, 1890

If you've been able to read this Web page...
thank a Teacher;
If you've been able to read this Web page in English...
thank a Veteran.
—Author unknown

• Copyright notice •
Content Copyright © 1984 -- 2016-08-21
by Michael A. Neiger

• All rights reserved •
No part of this Web page or this Web site protected by copyright law may be reproduced, transmitted, or used in any form--including graphic, electronic, Web, mechanical or other form--or by any means--including photocopying, recording, taping, Internet distribution, information storage retrieval system, or by other means--for any purpose, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages, without the prior, express, written permission of the author.

Comments? Suggestions?
Dead links? Inaccurate info?
Contact the WebMaster, Michael A. Neiger, at mneiger@hotmail.com

Web site URL: www.MibSAR.com

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