January 31, 2013

Hikers rescued in NH could pay fee under bill

Norma Love / The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — Hikers and others rescued in New Hampshire's backwoods could pay several hundred dollars in fees to the state to help dig the search and rescue fund out of the red under new legislation.

Anyone rescued who possesses a current hunting, fishing or other outdoors license or buys a new hike-safe card for $18 would not pay the minimum fee. The proposal also would establish a $10 surcharge on fines for fish and game law violations to go into the fund.

The minimum fee facing those rescued would be $350 if the rescue cost between $500 and $999. The fee rises to $600 if the rescue costs between $1,000 and $1,499. For rescues costing more, the fee would be $1,000.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler of Bartlett, Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro and Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat, are among the high-profile sponsors looking for ways to help pay for searches and rescues besides fees paid by sportsmen.

Hunters, anglers, boaters, snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle riders currently pay 100 percent of the rescue costs though license fees but averaged only 14 percent of the rescues since 2006.

Recent rescue costs ranged from about $200 to more than $50,000. The Department of Fish and Game has been operating the search and rescue account at an average annual deficit since 2006 of more than $100,000.

The agency has recovered some of its rescue costs by billing people determined to be negligent.

A hearing on the proposal is Thursday.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)