ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Officials in western North Carolina say rescue operations in the Pisgah National Forest are very expensive.

Henderson County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Stout told The Asheville Citizen-Times ( that searches are expensive for both North Carolina and South Carolina, where authorities often help in searches.

The newspaper cited a couple who left for an overnight hike in the forest in April and was reported missing when they failed to return to a parking lot to meet family members.

About 200 people searched for the couple, spending $28,000 over several days. The couple was later found working as street performers in Asheville, unaware there had been a search for them in the forest.

The Mills River Fire and Rescue department has been called to the forest two dozen times this year.

Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times,