Voluntary Hiker Safety card in NH

3:05 p.m. on May 17, 2014 (EDT)
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This is an interesting development... And seems like an ok way to offset SAR costs. I would have hoped obtaining the card would include at least some basic safety training (not just paying a fee for the card).

http://www.concordmonitor.com/news/11969655-95/nh-senate-approves-hiking-card-that-will-help-fund-search-and-rescue-operations

3:35 a.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Bill, seems a good investment for those that get out there and haven't plan well or just get very unlucky.  I'd buy it just to support the program and still wish I would not have to use it as a 'benefit'.

There is a discussion about putting WiFi into the Sierra National Parks.  For those who would go there thinking they can routinely call for a rescue, would benefit most.

I thought your idea of showing where you were while on the JMT using DeLorme Inreach was great.  With all the traffic on the JMT, your recovery would have been simpler.  Each passing hiker could just pick up a piece of you and lug it to a designated spot for clean up and disposal.

9:50 a.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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This card is an all Around win...Both the rescue crews are paid for and the Hiker gets less of the cost burden on them..I would purchase this ..Like having Insurance...

11:20 a.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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The likelihood is that the people most likely to need rescue are the least likely to buy such a card (folks who head out there ill-prepared in the first place and believe "it will never happen to me"). The question, though, is what about people who belong to organizations which provide rescue insurance (the American Alpine Club and several other organizations provide this for all members) or have a subscription to a rescue service (such as the Delorme inReach and Globalstar's SPOT devices)? Will NH assess a penalty on these people if they have an incident? Does this mean that some visitor from out of state who decides to take a short day hike, but has an accident that requires evacuation get assessed a large fine? $25 for a 2 or 3 hour day hike? Really? Will all trail heads have a prominent sign that has the "Buy your hiker's permit before setting foot on the trail"? Will the next step be a ranger on patrol checking hikers on the trail, who assess the fine on the spot for someone who lacks the proper permit? If I attend the annual Ice Climbing Festival in NH as an out of stater, will I have to have the permit for that 2 or 3 days I am participating in the organized group activity, for which I have to pay a fee that includes a state tax already?

Knowing how bureaucrats work, I can easily conceive of being on a day hike, coming across an incident, volunteering to help (maybe my 2 hiking partners and I patch up the person and notify SAR,), then have NH F&G fine us for not having the permit.  In many areas, if someone calls 911 for some accident victim, the caller is held responsible for the costs.

Most SAR organizations are volunteer and operate with little if any support from the local state government. Military SAR units in many cases count rescues as part of their training exercises.

1:44 p.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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I figured this might be controversial :).  I agree, OGBO, it's not as simple as it sounds, and although one would hope there would be provisions included for the kinds of situations you mentioned, that doesn't mean there will be.  Hmmm.  Nothing is ever as simple as it should be.  Maybe on balance this one is still headed in the right direction as it would at least provide a revenue stream for the SAR organizations (or maybe the state would end up just adding it to their general fund...)

And you raised a point I've wondered about ... if I am carrying the inReach and come across someone in need of a rescue, and send an SOS on their behalf, would I be the one held responsible for the cost.  And if I am, would the inReach coverage apply since the call was made on behalf of a non-covered person...

6:10 p.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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People who already purchase hunting and fishing licenses or OHRV, snowmobile or boat registrations are exempt, because $1 of those fees already go into the search-and-rescue fund.

So it sounds like my $56 out of state fishing license will get me the same benefits for "free" plus all the fish I can catch :)  If I'd known I would have had them carry me out this morning and saved myself a four hour walk.

12:10 p.m. on May 19, 2014 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

I figured this might be controversial :).  I agree, OGBO, it's not as simple as it sounds, and although one would hope there would be provisions included for the kinds of situations you mentioned, that doesn't mean there will be.  Hmmm.  Nothing is ever as simple as it should be.  Maybe on balance this one is still headed in the right direction as it would at least provide a revenue stream for the SAR organizations (or maybe the state would end up just adding it to their general fund...)

And you raised a point I've wondered about ... if I am carrying the inReach and come across someone in need of a rescue, and send an SOS on their behalf, would I be the one held responsible for the cost.  And if I am, would the inReach coverage apply since the call was made on behalf of a non-covered person...

 Might be Controversial But a great topic...The problem I see is useing the General Fund,,,I've seen Lotteries started to fund schools thats how they got them passed then the monies only going to General funds and no bigger budgets for schools...

September 18, 2014
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