The longest journey begins with a single step.
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
|Hikers who aren't prepared for the extremes of New Hampshire's terrain and weather may want to reevaluate their plans for outdoor adventures.
In late 1999, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department announced that hikers who negligently cause themselves to become lost or injured - resulting in costly and dangerous rescues - may be billed for those rescue services.
Under the current law, which is supported by the Fish and Game Commission, the Department reviews each search and rescue mission to determine whether a bill should be sent to those involved. Hikers who may be billed include those who are poorly equipped for terrain or weather and/or lack reasonable skills or stamina to handle the hike without getting lost or injured.
The many dedicated and highly trained volunteers from diverse agencies and organizations are an integral part of New Hampshire's search and rescue missions. As the lead agency in charge of such missions, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, handles roughly 150 to 200 search and rescues each year. Of those, only a small number are initiated because of the actions of negligent hikers.
This small number of negligent hikers can present some very difficult, dangerous and expensive search and rescue missions; and it is those hikers who'll be billed for rescues. It is hoped that the prospects of getting a bill will itself act as a deterrent to hikers who may otherwise make incorrect and uneducated decisions.
Search and rescue in New Hampshire is funded by a $1 surcharge on every New Hampshire Off Highway Recreational Vehicle and boat registration.