Hiker Rescue Funding
In 2008 the state passed a negligent hiker law, giving the state the power to bill lost or injured hikers for the cost of their rescue mission if they were found to have been negligent.
SB 128 created a study committee in 2011 to determine who should pay when state authorities carry out search and rescue operations for lost or injured hikers. The committee recommended several ways to raise funds for search and rescue, including creating a Hike Safe Card, which, for a fee, would guarantee that a hiker would not be billed for rescue. This option was implemented in 2014.
"Hike Safe Cards" can now be purchased by hikers for $25, indemnifying them against the costs of rescue operations on their behalf regardless of whether they are deemed negligent. Negligent hikers that choose not to buy Hike Safe Cards may still be billed for the cost of rescue.
"New Hampshire should continue the Hike Safe Card program."
- Because recouping costs from negligent hikers is difficult, Hike Safe Cards provide necessary additional funding.
- Hikers are more likely than others to call for help, so the Hike Safe Cards are a way for them to make a fair contribution to the search and rescue fund (license fees assessed to hunters, fishermen, and snowmobilers are the primary source of revenue for the search and rescue fund).
"New Hampshire should eliminate the Hike Safe Card program."
- Rescues are a public service and hikers should not have to bear the cost .
- The system of charging hikers for a card will cost money to implement while still not providing enough revenue to manage rescue costs.