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Apr 24, 2018







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Hike Safe this year
Fish and Game offers hiker’s insurance

01/01/15



As of Jan. 1, New Hampshire Fish and Game’s new Hike Safe card is in effect, allowing people to pay a small fee to avoid a big one. 

For $25 for an individual or $35 for a family, the Hike Safe card ensures that anyone who needs rescue services who has paid for the card will not have to pay for the cost of the rescue. It is meant for those who participate in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, paddling and cross-country skiing. 
Maj. Kevin Jordan, assistant chief of law enforcement for Fish and Game, said there is no “typical” rescue, and they can range in cost from $1,500 to $60,000, with the average being about $5,000.
The Hike Safe card is meant to be part of a solution to a shortfall in the Fish and Game budget. Some of that shortfall comes from the cost of rescues, which can total around $350,000 annually. To cover the shortfall in the past, money has been taken out of the general Fish and Game fund, which is supported by hunting and fishing licenses.
“Hunting and fishing dollars support about half of what we expend on search and rescue. We felt that was unfair, because that money is really earmarked for other things,” Jordan said. “We were looking for some kind of fair based, public support through tax dollars, but we felt that if we are going to encourage these people to come out, to be safe while they’re here, our argument has been, there should be funding. [Then we] looked at who was using the service. Some in the hiking community thought a voluntary card would help in this regard.”
Jordan said he’d been “ranting and raving” at the legislature for a way to fund search and rescue for the last 13 years, and though a lot of potential solutions had been discussed, it was the COSAR card — the Colorado equivalent of Hike Safe — that kept coming up.
Jordan said $1 from every ATV, boat and snow machine goes to search and rescue, which is about $190,000, but with hikers and climbers using over 50 percent of services, that was where Fish and Game needed to look.
Now, those with a Hike Safe card, hunting or fishing license or who have paid OHRV fees will not be billed for rescues. 
“It’s a very cheap insurance card. They would be exempt from paying rescue costs due to negligence,” Jordan said. “Everything is online now to buy it. Will it fill the void? It may not alleviate all the funding issues, but it’s a step in the right direction.” 
 
As seen in the January 1, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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