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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

New Hampshire Could Punish 'Negligent' Hikers

If you get injured or lost in the New Hampshire woods, get ready to pull out your checkbook when the SAR cavalry comes — or forget about driving home. According to a proposed law, the state will require hikers ruled as "negligent" to pay for rescue services; if they refuse, they'll lose any driver's, fishing, or hunting licenses.

New Hampshire officials are seeking to curb the cost of search-and-rescue operations, and they "estimate $42,000 of the $150,000 spent last year on search-and-rescue missions was attributable to negligence." Neither the tiny article nor the law specifies exactly what qualifies as negligent, which I'd imagine leaves some room for debate. Does failing to bring a map or guidebook count as negligent? What about not checking the weather before hiking? Or how about wearing cotton socks?

Given the hefty costs involved with some SAR operations, if you needed rescue and were deemed "negligent," it might be worth it to just skip the bill, take a hit, and ride the bus for a while.

What do you think:

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— Ted Alvarez

NH law gets tougher on negligent hikers (AP)

 

READERS COMMENTS

The Adventurist
Jun 13, 2008

The Police, EMT's etc. are paid to do whatever it takes to help save lives, no matter the situation. Should we pay them more for busting up a Meth lab in the woods? What about a car wreck? They are exposed everyday in other situations. You can not single out one thing, then let the rest be....this is ridiculous. And to lose your driver's license if you don't pay up--well, next time you ned that big operation at the hospital and can't afford to pay-you going to lose it for that too?

By the way, my father was a police chief. He wouldn't want more money to save lives. This is all crap. City governments and the Park Service are the one behind it, not the ones actually doing the saving of lives--

If you want your cities to own you, by all means move to China. Jesus.

Traveler w/ a hat
Jun 11, 2008

Sure we pay taxes and those taxes pay salaries for everyday operations. Rescues in the outdoors are much more intensive than an emt showing up at a car accident or police pulling over cars. Volunteers are granted just that, but again when people do stupid things (i.e climb Mt. Washington in the winter in jeans, sneakers and a windbreaker) and put others at risk volunteer or not they should pay. This is a very gray area though, where do you draw the line of stupidity/ignorance and willful disregard for nature and the elements? Hard saying not knowing…

The Adventurist
Jun 11, 2008

Nice Post, Ted. I have covered this issue quite a bit on my own blog. My personal feelings are that taxpayers already pay the authorities wages, should we be forced to pay twice, if we need their services? An awful lot of SAR teams are Volunteers, as well. We should Volunteers be compensated? They are there by choice.

There. I made my controversial comment. Let the bashing begin...haha.

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