As of yesterday, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts who play in the New Hampshire wilderness can voluntarily purchase a Hike Safe Card that exempts them from repaying search and rescue costs should they be needed (except under reckless or intentional behavior). At $25 per card for an individual or $35 per family, this rescue insurance is a small price to pay compared to the thousands of dollars each mission costs.
Advertised as a back-up plan for the great outdoors, the Hike Safe Card generates state revenue to directly support the Fish and Game Department’s Search and Rescue program–typically underfunded most years.
The rescue card is not just for hikers–anyone who plays outdooors in New Hampshire is encouraged to purchase an annual card, even if you are just visiting. Think kayakers, mountain bikers, skiers, snowshoers cyclists, and rock climbers. The Hike Safe Card is available for purchase from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s website.
I would love to see more states follow suit as a way to bring in money for the search and rescue programs. But the age old questions remains, once you paid your $25 are you now more apt to call for help even if it is not a true emergency? I doubt it.