October 9, 2008

No Luck in Search for 2 Missing Hikers

Searchers scoured wilderness straddling the U.S.-Canadian border between Minnesota and Ontario Thursday seeking two missing hikers, officials said.

Maria Jacenko, 42, and Grace Knezevich, 23 -- two Duluth women who work together -- were three days overdue from a scheduled four-day hike on a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness trail in some of northern Minnesota's most rugged Superior National Forest terrain.

"You could lose the trail there easily,'' Jon Benson, wilderness manager for Superior National Forest's Gunflint and Tofte, Minn., stations, told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune.

"You need a large amount of skill to get through there. You have to know what you're looking for," he said.

"And once you get off the trail, finding your way back is going to be extremely difficult," Benson said. "It's in some of the most remote areas of the Boundary Waters."

Air and ground searches covered the length of the trail late Thursday, but did not find signs of the women, the newspaper said.