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Bags4266
01-08-2014, 18:14
Not sure if this has been posted already. NH House approves hike safe card program

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) New Hampshire's House has given it preliminary OK to giving negligent hikers a chance to buy a hike safe card that forgives rescue expenses they'd otherwise owe the state.

The House voted Wednesday to ask the Finance Committee to review a bill that authorizes the Fish and Game Department to sell voluntary hike safe cards for $25 per person and $35 per family. People who obtain the cards would not be liable to repay rescue costs if their rescue was due to negligence on their part.

The bill also would exempt people with hunting and fishing licenses and anyone with an off-highway recreational vehicle registration, including for a snowmobile.

Sarcasm the elf
01-08-2014, 18:17
Just curious, are the proposed $25 and $35 fees going to be annual or are they a one time payment?

max patch
01-08-2014, 19:07
The original bill was a ONE TIME fee of $18; have no idea when the proposed fee was raised if they also changed the frequency. It is my understanding that if you have a hunting-fishing-snowmobile license that you are already covered and don't need the Hike Safe card.

Migrating Bird
01-08-2014, 19:24
This really rubs me the wrong way, just another fee which is "voluntary" now, but just opens the whole can of worms of paying to hike. The negligent are not going to be responsible and purchase the cards, responsible hikers will, funding the negligent which is the same situation now just a new/additional revenue stream. Charge the negligent hikers for rescue if they want period. Perhaps someone from the "Live Free or Die" State can chime in on how many times the state has actually charged and recovered the cost of a rescue of a some hiker(s) who were proven to be negligent. Is it negligent to hike alone, some lawmakers I'm sure are of the opinion it is, therefore..............

rickb
01-08-2014, 19:25
The original bill was a ONE TIME fee of $18; have no idea when the proposed fee was raised if they also changed the frequency. It is my understanding that if you have a hunting-fishing-snowmobile license that you are already covered and don't need the Hike Safe card.

Do I understand this correctly?

Since NH sells some sort of license to snowmobilers, they are very willing to pay for helping them when those same snowmobilers are negligent.

And they are happy to pay the cost of helping out negligent hikers and tourists too, but only if they pay for a walking pass in advance.

Yikes.

moldy
01-08-2014, 19:38
What a rip off. This is almost all Federal Land. What about the other 13 states? It looks like they are targeting out of state hikers with all the disclaimers for locals. It's funny that the same state that allows the trail club to apply 20 different names on signs for the Appalachian Trail encouraging lost hikers now wants to call them "negligent hikers" and then bill them when they need help. Is this the Appalachian Trail or the Franconia Ridge Trail like the sign says? If you leave a pot on the stove and the fire department has to put out the fire do they bill you? New Hampshire the "pay up or die" state.

Meriadoc
01-08-2014, 19:49
I see this as pretty simple. Be a smart hiker, don't be negligent, and don't pay for the insurance. This is for a case of negligence right? Be smart and don't be a drain on emergency resources.

ALLEGHENY
01-08-2014, 19:56
Everything I own is in my pack. So what. Sue me.

atmilkman
01-08-2014, 20:11
This makes the decision to take the risk or not so much easier.

MDSection12
01-08-2014, 20:23
A friend of mine lived in CO a few years and found out that when he bought a fishing license (he didn't fish) he could opt for a similar type of rescue insurance. He said it was a well known thing among backcountry skiers.

Rocket Jones
01-08-2014, 20:30
I see this as pretty simple. Be a smart hiker, don't be negligent, and don't pay for the insurance. This is for a case of negligence right? Be smart and don't be a drain on emergency resources.

The key is that the hiker won't be the one defining 'negligent'.

Mags
01-08-2014, 21:00
A friend of mine lived in CO a few years and found out that when he bought a fishing license (he didn't fish) he could opt for a similar type of rescue insurance. He said it was a well known thing among backcountry skiers.

That is common misconception. The CORSAR car is *not* insurance. It is something you purchase to help defray the costs of rescues as well as training of SAR people. It is a charitable donation with a fancy card basically.

http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DOLA-Main/CBON/1251592090523 (http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DOLA-Main/CBON/1251592090523)

The CORSAR Card Is Not Insurance
The card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.


The NH program, OTOH, does appear to be an insurance.

hikerboy57
01-08-2014, 21:04
to be able to buy insurance against negligence sounds, well, negligent.very poorly though out.
kinda like providing liability insurance for driving drunk.

HeartFire
01-08-2014, 21:19
I would like to know the definition of "negligent"
I did purchase a CORSAR card when I hiked the Colorado Trail this summer, I have no problem with helping out the SAR programs where I am hiking - I just night someday need their services, but I don't think 'negligence' had anything to do with the card, and, it does not cover air rescue - like MAGS said, it's not insurance, but it does help support SAR in Colorado.

Don H
01-08-2014, 21:21
Read the bill here:http://www.nhliberty.org/bills/view/2013/HB256

NH Fish and Game decides who is negligent with no clear definition of what constitutes negligence.
There doesn't seem to be any method to appeal.
If not paid within 30 days interest will accrue.

Tuckahoe
01-08-2014, 21:36
leave a pot on the stove and the fire department has to put out the fire do they bill you? New Hampshire the "pay up or die" state.

Actually yes. In your own Tennessee fire service paid for through subscription is rather common, and if you did not pay for the subscription service, the private company is under no obligation to save your property. The fire company may actually show up to protect your neighbor's property from your's, while watching your property burn. If the company does choose to put your fire out, you are liable and obligated to pay for the service. My great-grandfather actually owned such a subscription fire company.

I personally see such a fee as nothing more than an insurance premium. The reality though is that the ones who tend to be prudent will probably be the ones that pay the fee, and yet not put themselves in the position of needing a rescue... while the "hold my beer and watch this"
crowd cant be bothered to.

Love how you got your jab in on the AMC

kayak karl
01-08-2014, 22:17
to be able to buy insurance against negligence sounds, well, negligent.very poorly though out.
i think Lloyd's of London will give you negligent insurance, at a cost :)

ALLEGHENY
01-08-2014, 22:23
Is the maximum liability 1K?

Another Kevin
01-08-2014, 22:39
NH Fish and Game has a very clear definition of 'negligent.' If they have to come get you out, you were negligent.

max patch
01-08-2014, 22:43
Is the maximum liability 1K?

That's how I read the bill.

ALLEGHENY
01-08-2014, 22:59
If they just want to make money off of hikers, they could just have a bake sale and get more revenue.

MDSection12
01-08-2014, 23:15
That is common misconception. The CORSAR car is *not* insurance. It is something you purchase to help defray the costs of rescues as well as training of SAR people. It is a charitable donation with a fancy card basically.http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DOLA-Main/CBON/1251592090523The CORSAR Card Is Not InsuranceThe card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.The NH program, OTOH, does appear to be an insurance.Thanks for the info. My friend was mistaken. :)

theGABE
01-08-2014, 23:41
It is important to stay safe while hiking. :D
Very safe.

4eyedbuzzard
01-09-2014, 06:25
What a rip off. This is almost all Federal Land.NH Fish & Game is mandated by current law (and by agreement with WMNF) to perform ALL S&R in NH regardless of where an incident occurs, including on Federal lands. All S&R activities are currently funded by state sporting license revenues only, not federal tax dollars. NH has spent approximately $1.5 million over the past 5 years performing rescues, billed those determined negligent by current law(requires finding by F&G and also Attorney General review) about $83K, and collected about $55K of that. 54% of all rescues are for hikers/climbers who pay nothing, but the entire S&R costs are borne by fishing, hunting, boat, snowmobile licensees who represent only 14% of rescues. S&R revenue shortfalls are approximately $200K per year and increasing every year.

What about the other 13 states?Vermont, Maine, and Georgia also have provisions in their laws and/or civil codes that can allow S&R costs to be recouped, though to my knowledge they have yet to be used. There may be others as well - I just don't know. We have a bit more of a problem with lost and unprepared hikers here in New Hampshire than most states do though due to the popularity of our extensive trail system, ruggedness of our terrain, and our unique weather conditions. Other non-AT states that have laws allowing fines/recoup of costs for S&R are CA, OR, WY, ID, HI to name a few. S&R is overwhelmed and underfunded in many states/areas, and many voters/taxpayers don't feel they should have to foot the bill for a rescue during "high risk" activities of those who choose to engage in them.

It looks like they are targeting out of state hikers with all the disclaimers for locals.The proposed law applies equally to residents and non-residents (as does the current law). There are no disclaimers for locals, only disclaimers for those who have purchased sporting licenses, which are available to both residents and non-residents.
It's funny that the same state that allows the trail club to apply 20 different names on signs for the Appalachian Trail encouraging lost hikers now wants to call them "negligent hikers" and then bill them when they need help. Is this the Appalachian Trail or the Franconia Ridge Trail like the sign says?The trails the AT is routed over in NH were already here, being hiked, and most were already named trails 50 to 100 years before the Appalachian Trail and White Mountain National Forest even existed. As Benton MacKaye noted during formation of the ATC in the 1920's, the "trail" in NH was already done, largely by AMC, RMC, DOC and others. The AT was routed over the existing trail system in the Whites - not the other way around. We have 100's of trails that intersect. The AT route is clearly marked and blazed along with the local trail name. But unless you hike here frequently and know them, you need a map - period.
If you leave a pot on the stove and the fire department has to put out the fire do they bill you?Yeah, in many places they can and do. Either you or your insurance company gets a bill.
New Hampshire the "pay up or die" state.No one is forcing anyone to pay. No one is going to be left to die. Should this law even pass (it still requires State Senate passage and the Governor's signature first, which isn't a done deal especially as written) a person will receive the same incredibly fine and professional S&R effort from F&G and possibly along with some money hungry volunteer rescuers from AMC, RMC, DOC, and others if they need it - whether they pay in advance for the "Hike Safe" card or not. If they don't, they will be billed a flat fee representing somewhere between 35% and 60% of the F&G S&R cost, but in no case to exceed $1000. Most responsible well-prepared hikers, such as all of us here on WB, will probably never need the services of S&R, so I really don't see a huge problem with the experienced hiker community. But we spend a lot of time and money and put rescue people at risk far too often simply because of negligent people who go off into the outdoors unprepared. The law and the Hike-Safe allows NH to generate revenue for S&R and recoup some of the cost if necessary, but more importantly it sends a strong message to those who might ignore preparedness warnings and act in a negligent fashion.

rickb
01-09-2014, 08:19
S&R Costs in NH are currently funded wit a $1.00 fee collected for each boat, snow machine and OHRV registered in New Hampshire, which gets deposited into the Search and Rescue Fund.

I agree with 4EB that this is a disproportionate burden on those particular sportsmen and is unfair to them. Even if its just a buck.

Given the importance of outdoor recreation to businesses and families in NH, and the long standing traditions we regarding helping strangers in distress, I agree with where he seems to be going with this, and the idea that S&R should be covered by the general fund.

moldy
01-09-2014, 12:09
review)The trails the AT is routed over in NH were already here, being hiked, and most were already named trails 50 to 100 years before the Appalachian Trail and White Mountain National Forest even existed. As Benton MacKaye noted during formation of the ATC in the 1920's, the "trail" in NH was already done, largely by AMC, RMC, DOC and others. The AT was routed over the existing trail system in the Whites - not the other way around. We have 100's of trails that intersect. The AT route is clearly marked and blazed along with the local trail name. But unless you hike here frequently and know them, you need a map - period.
So let me get this right, Hikers have to die every year so that the trail system in the Whites can maintain historical correctness on trail signs? Do you really think it is worth it? Now the local trail club hikers don't have much of a problem, it's there back yard. New to this State? Suck it up or die.

MDSection12
01-09-2014, 12:23
So let me get this right, Hikers have to die every year so that the trail system in the Whites can maintain historical correctness on trail signs? Do you really think it is worth it? Now the local trail club hikers don't have much of a problem, it's there back yard. New to this State? Suck it up or die.
I get your point, but wouldn't you say that a hiker who dies due to the writing on a sign was unprepared to the point of being negligent? It's not like the info isn't available. As 4Eyed said, that area requires a map... Shouldn't all long distance hikers have a map, particularly in such remote, rugged terrain? Just my thoughst, again I do see your point as well.

max patch
01-09-2014, 12:32
I'd say that not carrying a map through the Whites could be considered negligent if it hit the fan.

max patch
01-09-2014, 13:19
You can't read just the headlines -- NH TO MAKE HIKERS PAY FOR RESCUE!!! -- although that makes for a better story. If you read the details you will learn:

1. You only pay if you are considered negligent.

2. If negligent, the amount you will pay is on a sliding scale:

a. If the search and rescue costs less than $500 then no charge.
b. If the search and rescue costs between $500 - $999 then you pay $350.
c. If the search and rescue costs between $1,000 and $1,499 you pay $600.
d. If the search and rescue costs $1,500 or more you pay $1,000.

Not negligent, then no charge.

rickb
01-09-2014, 13:19
So let me get this right, Hikers have to die every year so that the trail system in the Whites can maintain historical correctness on trail signs? Do you really think it is

Hopefully everyone understands that has never happened, and any suggestion that ANY hiker has ever died because of trail names used on signs is best considered, er, "rhetorical flourish".

George
01-09-2014, 13:19
by human nature, the order of preference:

1) someone else pays, and I receive the good/ service

2) I pay for the good/ service I recieve

3) I pay for the good/ service someone else recieves

hiking is essentially one of the few vacation/ recreational activities without targeted fees/ excise taxes designed to fund the infrastructure needed for the activity

consider a few of the many fees targeted at other activities: hunting/ fishing licenses - boat/ vehicle registration - gun/ ammo excise tax - motor vehicle fuel tax - park admission fees - hotel/ motel tax - gambling tax

the hiker pays almost none of these yet uses many of the same facilities / services that are funded by others who pay the taxes/ fees

lots of people on here use the term "hiker entitlement " to critcize others, not considering that they themselves start the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the rules are adjusted to require hikers to pay some of their own way (i.e. backcountry camping fees in the smokies )

I could only imagine the floods caused by the tears if there was ever a # 3 type situation

ALLEGHENY
01-09-2014, 13:44
This all boils down to personal responsibility. Just put $1,000 aside and prepare not to be negligent. If somebody has to come save your sorry a$$ don't you owe them something?:mad:

RedBeerd
01-09-2014, 14:03
$25 for a helicopter ride? Sweet.

magneto
01-09-2014, 14:04
So will this "hike safe" card stop people from heading out to climb mountains unprepared? Will we feel any better if someone decides to climb Tuckerman Ravine in winter wearing a cotton shirt, blue jeans and sneakers and then requires a rescue, but because they bought a "hike safe" card, they will not be charged for the accident that resulted from their stupidity? Would such a person even consider purchasing a "hike safe" card?

ALLEGHENY
01-09-2014, 14:13
So will this "hike safe" card stop people from heading out to climb mountains unprepared? Will we feel any better if someone decides to climb Tuckerman Ravine in winter wearing a cotton shirt, blue jeans and sneakers and then requires a rescue, but because they bought a "hike safe" card, they will not be charged for the accident that resulted from their stupidity? Would such a person even consider purchasing a "hike safe" card?



No, NO and No..

Tuckahoe
01-09-2014, 14:25
Hmmm so what the full story is, is that S&R is the obligation of the NH game department. S&R is funded through the license fees that hunters, fishermen, and other sportsmen must pay to hunt and fish. Yet the game department must rescue all in need whether they paid into the system or not (which is the right and proper thing to do ).

But! We have some hikers bulking at the potential of paying into that system. And seem alright st piggy backing on the funding from others. Is that what I am seeing?

ALLEGHENY
01-09-2014, 14:34
Hmmm so what the full story is, is that S&R is the obligation of the NH game department. S&R is funded through the license fees that hunters, fishermen, and other sportsmen must pay to hunt and fish. Yet the game department must rescue all in need whether they paid into the system or not (which is the right and proper thing to do ).

But! We have some hikers bulking at the potential of paying into that system. And seem alright st piggy backing on the funding from others. Is that what I am seeing?




In a nutshell. Yes

4eyedbuzzard
01-09-2014, 14:37
Part of the reason for this proposed legislation is that many(most?) don't like the current law (2008) either, where people can be billed in an unlimited amount for S&R and the subjective nature of judging "negligence." There have been a few incidents where very costly $25,000+ efforts were undertaken, and it is difficult to both judge if someone was negligent and if so, to collect. Plus, no one really wants to judge people for such things. It's a public relations and tourist industry nightmare, as witnessed here. The good part of this legislation would place reasonable caps on charges ($1000 max) and eliminate the subjective finding of fault. The "bad" part is that you can now choose to either pay a fee in advance or that you could well be billed for a completely accidental incident. F&G is mandated to do S&R under their non-appropriated funds budget, which means that money that that gets spent beyond the current license fee levels can only be recouped by raising licensing fees, incident fees/fines on other F&G infractions, or by cutting services (laying off F&G employees/officers, cutting wildlife and education programs, etc.) That sure isn't "fair" either to other recreational users or the taxpayers in general. There is no perfect solution, just workable compromises.

As to trail markings and signs, yes, it can be confusing, especially at intersections and even more so in the fog. But I hiked a lot of the AT in NH just last summer, and I can't remember any section where the trail wasn't clearly identified by BOTH the local name and "AT" with an arrow, or with "Appalachian Trail" appearing in parenthesis under the local trail name, along with white blazes and/or cairns. I'm a "local", and I ALWAYS carry a map, because that is what you are supposed to do. And I wouldn't hike in anyone else's "backyard" without a map either. Even for a day hike I carry enough extra food, clothing, and even an emergency shelter - just in case. But that's how we were all taught in the old days, not just to hike in the Whites, but to hike anywhere. We didn't have cell phones and such. If $#!^ happened you had to be able to survive the elements on your own until you missed your return time and people came looking for you where you had left info on where you were hiking. We still try to teach this, but more and more people just don't listen. If you can afford to buy gear, food, and gas to get to the trailhead, you can afford to buy a map and compass, and if you choose, pay into the S&R fund as kind of an "insurance" should you ever need it. If you can figure out how to get to a trail and start hiking, you can figure out how to properly plan. If you don't, well, you could wind up paying for your negligence, just as with any other activity in life.

FarmerChef
01-09-2014, 15:26
Part of the reason for this proposed legislation is that many(most?) don't like the current law (2008) either, where people can be billed in an unlimited amount for S&R and the subjective nature of judging "negligence." There have been a few incidents where very costly $25,000+ efforts were undertaken, and it is difficult to both judge if someone was negligent and if so, to collect. Plus, no one really wants to judge people for such things. It's a public relations and tourist industry nightmare, as witnessed here. The good part of this legislation would place reasonable caps on charges ($1000 max) and eliminate the subjective finding of fault. The "bad" part is that you can now choose to either pay a fee in advance or that you could well be billed for a completely accidental incident. F&G is mandated to do S&R under their non-appropriated funds budget, which means that money that that gets spent beyond the current license fee levels can only be recouped by raising licensing fees, incident fees/fines on other F&G infractions, or by cutting services (laying off F&G employees/officers, cutting wildlife and education programs, etc.) That sure isn't "fair" either to other recreational users or the taxpayers in general. There is no perfect solution, just workable compromises.

As to trail markings and signs, yes, it can be confusing, especially at intersections and even more so in the fog. But I hiked a lot of the AT in NH just last summer, and I can't remember any section where the trail wasn't clearly identified by BOTH the local name and "AT" with an arrow, or with "Appalachian Trail" appearing in parenthesis under the local trail name, along with white blazes and/or cairns. I'm a "local", and I ALWAYS carry a map, because that is what you are supposed to do. And I wouldn't hike in anyone else's "backyard" without a map either. Even for a day hike I carry enough extra food, clothing, and even an emergency shelter - just in case. But that's how we were all taught in the old days, not just to hike in the Whites, but to hike anywhere. We didn't have cell phones and such. If $#!^ happened you had to be able to survive the elements on your own until you missed your return time and people came looking for you where you had left info on where you were hiking. We still try to teach this, but more and more people just don't listen. If you can afford to buy gear, food, and gas to get to the trailhead, you can afford to buy a map and compass, and if you choose, pay into the S&R fund as kind of an "insurance" should you ever need it. If you can figure out how to get to a trail and start hiking, you can figure out how to properly plan. If you don't, well, you could wind up paying for your negligence, just as with any other activity in life.

I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Whites with my wife and children. At no time did I ever get lost though there was a section of trail where I really struggled to be sure I was on the right one. No problem. I checked my map and kept moving. As the trail has gotten more and more popular and the guides more and more thorough it seems that some (emphasis on the word "some") individuals are hitting the trail unprepared with the basic skills/equipment (i.e. map and compass) to get themselves out of a jam should they accidentally zig when they should have zagged and weren't smart enough to look for blazes in the 5 miles they hiked before they realized it.

As for the card, from my perspective it might as well be a "tax." I'm sure there would be just as much complaining if there was a special S&R tax on every purchase made through the AMC or for every hut, cabin, campground reservation or....whatever. This is sort of like a voluntary tax. Participate or not. If I come prepared and have an accident through a good faith effort to follow best practices, I trust the system to not fault me. If I need rescue, so be it. I also agree with others that the negligent (who don't follow best practices or engage in high risk activities when they are unqualified to do so/lack the right gear, training, experience, etc.) probably won't be the ones buying this card either. On the other hand, I suppose if I was going to engage in highly risky behavior on the trail I might just plunk the 25 clams down just in case. If that ends up happening, then it may just encourage negligent behavior.

Coffee
01-09-2014, 15:34
On the other hand, I suppose if I was going to engage in highly risky behavior on the trail I might just plunk the 25 clams down just in case. If that ends up happening, then it may just encourage negligent behavior.

That is the more likely scenario. Classic adverse selection with insurance ... in a voluntary insurance scheme, those who are most highly at risk and likely to use the services provided are the most likely to actually purchase coverage.

Tom Murphy
01-09-2014, 16:38
If I come prepared and have an accident through a good faith effort to follow best practices, I trust the system to not fault me.

The NH F&G site says to follow Hike Safe guidelines; their website even has a link from their site to the Hike Safe web site.

One area where the Hike Safe guidlines are ambigious is whether hiking solo or hiking off-trail is considered negligent.

So I enjoy hiking by myself, off trail, in the winter. I have all the gear, leave an iternary, factor in the weather conditons etc [i.e following Hike Safe guidlines] but then break my leg in a fall, am I negligent?
Having the agency that stands to benefit accessing whether there was neglicance with no clear appeal process is still the big problem with this proposed law.

quilteresq
01-10-2014, 10:07
It's a tough problem. Currently, the costs of rescue are funded through fishing and hunting licenses, snowmobile registrations, boat registrations. Needless to say, these folks resent the heck out of it. That said, most of the Whites are national forest, but the rescue costs are born by the state. They're also talking now about kayak and canoe registration - again to help fund any kind of rescue. Most of the rescues in the state are in the mountains, though. I'm a resident, and I would pay a fee to help fund rescue costs, but I think it should be lower than proposed.

peakbagger
01-10-2014, 12:48
NH F&G recently stated in the press that hiking solo is inherently negligent. This was said in context to a winter hiker off trail but the comment wasn't restricted to this specific case.

Unfortunately the ones who buy the cards will be the frequent users and most of the rescues are for infrequent guest who would most likely not even know about a card. Plus the bus loads of Canadians would have no clue

Pedaling Fool
01-10-2014, 13:14
I wonder if anyone/organization has proclaimed that hiking without a cell phone/spot device is inherently negligent.

Mags
01-10-2014, 13:18
I wonder if anyone/organization has proclaimed that hiking without a cell phone/spot device is inherently negligent.

Not yet AFAIK . There are rumblings similar to this one, though:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/outposts/2009/12/mt-hood-locator-beacons.html

rickb
01-10-2014, 13:18
It's a tough problem. Currently, the costs of rescue are funded through fishing and hunting licenses, snowmobile registrations, boat registrations. Needless to say, these folks resent the heck out of it. That said, most of the Whites are national forest, but the rescue costs are born by the state. They're also talking now about kayak and canoe registration - again to help fund any kind of rescue. Most of the rescues in the state are in the mountains, though. I'm a resident, and I would pay a fee to help fund rescue costs, but I think it should be lower than proposed.

Your point is a good one-- unfairness breeds resentment. But this play is about money-- pure and simple.

The current funding mechanism is a $1.00 fee added to every boat, OHRV and snow machine registration in the state.

Hikers benefit from that largess, and so do Alzheimer's patients that wonder away from the home.

It is shameful that a state that benefits so much from tourism and the outdoor resources flowing from Federal land is looking to nickel and dime the people, rather than funding basic services from the general fund.

Politicians are skilled in carving up the population into different groups and playing them off each other. Too bad, NH is going this route.

4eyedbuzzard
01-10-2014, 13:38
The NH F&G site says to follow Hike Safe guidelines; their website even has a link from their site to the Hike Safe web site.

One area where the Hike Safe guidlines are ambigious is whether hiking solo or hiking off-trail is considered negligent.

So I enjoy hiking by myself, off trail, in the winter. I have all the gear, leave an iternary, factor in the weather conditons etc [i.e following Hike Safe guidlines] but then break my leg in a fall, am I negligent?
Having the agency that stands to benefit accessing whether there was neglicance with no clear appeal process is still the big problem with this proposed law.


NH F&G recently stated in the press that hiking solo is inherently negligent. This was said in context to a winter hiker off trail but the comment wasn't restricted to this specific case.

Unfortunately the ones who buy the cards will be the frequent users and most of the rescues are for infrequent guest who would most likely not even know about a card. Plus the bus loads of Canadians would have no clue
Regarding "negligence":

Under the EXISTING law "negligence" is a factor decided by F&G and the Attorney General in determining whether or not to bill people who required S&R. Liability is unlimited if negligent - some have been billed up to $25,000 or so - see below.

Under the proposed NEW law, negligence is NOT a determining factor. If you do not have a Hike Safe card (or sporting license)you will be billed under the scheduled fees if you are rescued. Period. There will be no adjudication of whether you are at fault or not. It isn't a factor. It's kind of a "no-fault" fine for needing S&R regardless of why. ;) Liability is limited per the schedule - maximum of $1000.

The winter incident was an attempted solo Presidential traverse in late winter by 17 year old Massachusetts Eagle Scout Scott Mason (and no, I don't think being a scout makes any difference in and of itself) who got injured and then got off his original course trying to get back. It turned into a "he said/she said" between him and the state regarding if he was negligent or not, what he did to try to extricate himelf, etc., and he (family) was fined $25,000 - which was later withdrawn. The rescue effort and the case is one of the reasons for NH trying to reach a better compromise on its law. http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/699918-196/state-wont-charge-teen-25000-for-white.html

FWIW, I believe hiking solo always raises the inherent level of risk. And I don't think that's arguable. As to whether that raised level of risk becomes "negligent" is subjective. And often, just because you are hiking alone, doesn't mean you are alone on the trail - the Whites in summer is a prime example. You could get injured tripping over other hikers ;) Is a solo Presidential traverse by a 17 year old in late winter (regardless of, or perhaps especially because of scout experience) negligent? Sorry, but I have to agree with F&G. He shouldn't have been out there alone in the first place.

Tom Murphy
01-10-2014, 16:44
Is a solo Presidential traverse by a 17 year old in late winter (regardless of, or perhaps especially because of scout experience) negligent? Sorry, but I have to agree with F&G. He shouldn't have been out there alone in the first place.

Thank you for the explanation of the differences between the exsiting law and the proposed law.

In the Scott Mason case, he had a very ambitious hike planned given the late winter/early spring snow conditions, he got hurt early in the hike & decided to continue rather than turn back, he bailed out using the worst possible route which showed inexperience / unfamiliarity with local terrain. Would having another person with him have changed any of those decisions?

I have always had the suspicion that the media spotlight/pressure Scott's parents put on the F&G to get the Maine helicopter played a part in their decision to fine him.