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Scott Mason, the Mass. Eagle Scout who got rescued off of Mt. Washington only to get slapped with a $25K fee, just got really lucky. The state of New Hampshire has decided not to make him pay up, citing extenuating personal circumstances and the fact that the teen is clearly not in a position to pay.
Mason got stuck on Mt. Washington for three nights after going off-trail. He sprained his ankle and couldn’t make his way off the mountain, so he used a few survival skills learned in scouting to save his bacon, including building a fire with hand sanitizer. His personal heroics quickly dwindled in the face of growing criticism that he wasn’t properly prepared for wet, snowy spring conditions, and the fact that he soloed it didn’t help.
In a letter sent April 8 to Mason’s legal counsel, New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney and New Hampshire Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau wrote: “We hope that the publicity about his experience has served as an important teaching moment to others considering hiking in the White Mountains, so they might know that the dangers and risks of doing so should never be underestimated.”
New Hampshire has made headlines for instituting a policy of charging for outdoor rescues, and Mason was to be their first, but maybe they thought better of making an example of a boy scout.
Mason’s family paid SAR $1,000. What do you think: Should Mason have coughed up all the dough?