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Card would cover NH wilderness rescue costs
Hikers who purchased the card would not be billed if they ever needed to be rescued.
The Fish and Game Department and lawmakers have tried for years to find additional revenue to cover the cost of search and rescue operations, which cost more than $300,000 a year.
"This doesn't solve the problem, but it is a good first step," he said. "The highest department estimate (of what the card would produce) is still short of what the department needs long-term."
"We like the playing field leveled," he told the committee. "It's unjust and unfair to have two groups who utilize (search and rescue) services very little bearing the costs. This is cost-shifting."
Under the bill, the cost of a hike safe card would be $25 for an individual and $35 for a family. Jordan said the target is 5,000 cards, which would produce about $110,000 a year.
The hike safe card is modeled after a similar program in Colorado that has been in place for a number of years. Local hiking organizations and groups like the Appalachian Mountain Club have said they will promote the cards.
But Almy asked him to consider a group rate and said the committee would explore it as it discusses the bill.
Other rescues are for those who do pay registration fees and for licenses, and for missing persons or runaways.
The state can charge hikers for the cost of the rescue, but most do not pay the bill.
State budget writers have been reluctant to use state general fund money to pay for the rescues and instead have proposed other methods to no avail.
The committee did not make an immediate recommendation on the bill.
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