Hike Safe Card

Recently NH adopted a Hike Safe Card that will be sold by NH Fish and Game as sort of an insurance policy should you need to be rescued by Fish and Game or one of the many Search and Rescue teams in New Hampshire.  The card will cost $25 and will cover the cost of a rescue caused by negligence but not recklessness.

Each year New Hampshire spends about $350,000 on rescue missions. Approximately $160,000 of this expense is covered by the $1 that comes out of each boat and OHRV registration as well as hunting and fishing licenses.  The rest comes out of the F&G budget.  The Hike Safe Card is supposed to cover the balance.

Charging people to be rescued is tricky subject.  If the State spends millions of dollars on marketing to bring people from across the country to enjoy our mountains we should take care of them if things go wrong and they get into trouble but I definitely believe people should be held accountable for their actions.  If your actions are reckless and you put other people in harm’s way then there should be consequences.

  Something worth thinking about when it comes to charging people for rescue is the possibility that some people will hold off calling or wait too long to call, potentially making things worse for themselves and the people rescuing them.  A hypothermic person who may already have somewhat clouded judgment may be more likely to make a bad call if the finical component is added to the mix. 

I’m not a big fan of the hike safe card mainly because I think it may give inexperienced people a false sense of security.  I feel like anyone who ventures into the backcountry needs to understand they are responsible for their own safety and wellbeing and they need to be aware of the consequences of bad decisions.  This card may very well increase the number of rescue calls that F&G receives from people who look at this like a AAA insurance,  get into trouble?…make a call.  Education not insurance.

I think it’s great that many people would consider buying the card just as a way to help support the cause but myself I don’t have much faith in any government run bureaucracy to run a cost effective solution to just about anything.  It’s hard to argue with the fishing license approach to contributing,  If you purchase a hunting or fishing licence your rescue is covered and you get to go fishing as a bonus.  If you’re not someone who likes to hunt or fish I would suggest donating to any of the outstanding SAR teams in NH.  Any of these organizations would be very grateful to receive finical support and may also be tax deductible (check with your accountant).  I know most if not all of these teams are made up of volunteers who invest a lot of their own time and money into being well trained and ready to go when they are needed,  They won’t, to my knowledge receive any financial support from the Hike Safe card.






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