Help yourself and others with Hike SafeMay 04. 2018 10:37PM
Each year, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's conservation officers conduct about 180 search-and-rescue missions for victims ranging from hikers, climbers, off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) operators, back country skiers, children, elderly people (Alzheimer's and dementia patients), and subjects of suicide.
It's an expensive effort, and a large part of the funding for those rescues comes from the Hike Safe card, a voluntary card that all outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to buy.
The cards help ensure that NH Fish and Game Law Enforcement personnel are there to come to the aid of anyone needing help if the unexpected occurs in a remote location. The cards cost $25 per person and $35 per family.
People who obtain the cards are not liable to repay rescue costs if they need to be rescued. Anyone with a current New Hampshire hunting or fishing license, current OHRV or snowmobile registration, or current boat registration receives the same benefit.
"We want people to get outside and enjoy all that New Hampshire has to offer," said Col. Kevin Jordan, chief of law enforcement at Fish and Game. "Nobody wants to have to be rescued, and we certainly encourage people to educate themselves about proper safety precautions, but when you are out in the wilderness, especially in the White Mountains, sometimes things go wrong."
The Hike Safe card has proven popular among outdoor enthusiasts. In 2017, a total of over 4,800 cards were sold, bringing in nearly $125,000 for the Fish and Game Search and Rescue Fund.
Fish and Game is assisted in its search and rescue missions by many professional volunteer search and rescue organizations throughout the state.
"The vast majority of people get into trouble because they do not bring the proper gear with them," said Jordan. "There are many sources for information on what to pack for various conditions, times of year, and activities, and it is everyone's responsibility to be prepared."
Recommended clothing and equipment for summer day hikers includes: map, compass, warm clothing (including a jacket, long pants of wool or synthetic, extra wool or synthetic socks, and a hat), extra food and water (beyond what you think you will use during your hike), flashlight or headlamp, matches/firestarters, first aid kit/repair kit, whistle, rain/wind jacket and pants, pocket knife, sturdy footwear, and a watch.
For more information on outdoor safety and how to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors, visit www.hikesafe.com. And for more information on safe hiking and the Hike Safe card, visit the Fish and Game website at www.wildnh.com/safe.