Authorities in New Hampshire are searching for a New Jersey man who went hiking in the White Mountains in late June and hasn’t been heard from since.
Gregory Auriemma, 63, an attorney and longtime Sierra Club member from Brick, N.J., was last seen in North Conway and was reported missing last week.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department determined that Auriemma stayed in the area of the Mizpah Spring Hut in Bean’s Grant on or about June 28. A search and rescue team confirmed on Saturday that Auriemma had also stayed at a campsite near the Dry River Trail in Cutts Grant, an area located in a remote section of the White Mountains.
Auriemma’s tent, rucksack and sleeping bag have been found but his whereabouts are unknown, according to Fish and Game Lieutenant Bradley Morse.
“We have no new clues,” Morse said, in a telephone interview.
The rescue team scoured the ground and a New Hampshire National Guard Black Hawk helicopter also searched the area. Twenty-four individuals were continuing to search on Monday, Morse said.
The search is likely to be scaled down after Monday, depending on what else is found, according to a Fish and Game press release.
Fellow Sierra Club member Terry Brown said Auriemma is an experienced hiker who planned to take a solo trip to the White Mountains and return in early July.
“He was planning to go out there on the trails for 11 days,” said Brown. “We’re all dumbfounded by this. We’re really quite concerned. He’s not the type of person who would just drop off the face of the earth.”
Auriemma is a founding member and chairman of the New Jersey Sierra Club chapter’s Ocean County Group and well-known for his environmental advocacy efforts. In 2013 he was honored at the White House and recognized as a “Champion of Change” for his work in educating the public about the consequences of climate change.
“He’s very active,” said Brown. “He’s done tremendous work.”
Brown said Auriemma had planned to return home about a week prior to a July 15 fund-raising barbecue that he helped plan and organize.
“He put in months of prep work to get this thing together,” said Brown. “No one has heard from him.”
Monica Zabroski also knows Auriemma from Sierra Club activities, and was shocked to hear the news.
“He’s a great guy,” she said. “It’s definitely scary. He loves being outside. It’s weird that this happened because he knows what he’s doing. He’s done it plenty of times.”
Authorities are asking any hikers who have been in that area and may have seen Auriemma to call 603-271-3361.Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.