Starting next week, Utah will officially join Colorado and New Hampshire in offering outdoor enthusiasts the chance to purchase a Search and Rescue Card. The new program will help fund local search and rescue groups throughout the state, while protecting those who play in the Utah outdoors from exorbitant bills if they should call for assistance.
Right now, 25 cents out of the fee paid for every hunting and fishing license and 50 cents out of the fee for all HOV and boat registrations go into the state’s search and rescue fund–but over the years this hasn’t been enough. Following the success of similar programs in New Hampshire and Colorado, the Utah Legislature established the program which officially went live July 1st. Managed by the Office of Outdoor Recreation, the program exempts all card holders from being billed for the cost of their rescues.
If you read the bill closely, however, you will see that it also permits all Utah counties to now charge individuals for the cost of their rescue if the individual is not registered as having a current Search and Rescue Card at the time of the rescue–a pretty big incentive to ante up. As more and more states jump onboard with the Search and Rescue Card, onE question remains–what if I live in Colorado and own a Search and Rescue Card but go to Moab for the weekend and have an accident where I need to be rescued? Shouldn’t there be a nationwide card much like we have with the national parks? Just a thought.
Similar to New Hampshire pricing, the Utah program will offer annual passes for individuals at $25 and families at $35. A 10 percent discount will be available for hunting and fishing license holders and 20 percent discount will be offered to those purchasing a five-year pass. By comparison, Colorado’s Search & Rescue Card only costs $3 for a one-year and $12 for five-year card.
Utah is getting ready to launch the RescueUtah.gov website soon where passes will be available for purchase.