Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

RESCUES: Nature lovers should pre-pay to cover costs

Letter by Ben Lieurance, Gig Harbor on July 11, 2012 at 11:33 am with 7 Comments »
July 11, 2012 12:18 pm

Every year we read stories about missing hikers, mountain climbers and skiers who need rescued. I am not against participating in the great outdoors, but who pays for these rescues?

I don’t know how much the helicopters, sheriff’s department and other rescue workers might cost taxpayers, directly or indirectly, but maybe it’s time to consider requiring these nature lovers to post a bond before venturing over hill and dale.

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. surething says:

    They need to do something, they put other people at risk.

  2. SandHills says:

    Certainly in the case of the climbing fee for Mount Rainier, only $43 (for over 25) and $25 (for under 25), a higher fee might discourage some. Better yet, maybe something flike flight insurance – so that if something goes wrong, the taxpayers are not on the hook to cover thrill seeking gone awry.

  3. You should pay a bond to: be a fatty working on a diabetes diagnosis; drive your car; smoke cigarettes… as you can see, becoming injured and/or killed in the natural environment is incredibly rare, and for every rescue you read about, there’s about 10,000 911 calls that cost more than a mountain rescue. The lazy lifestyles of the millions cost society much more than the occasional back country rescue. The bulk of the searchers are volunteers. Anyone sounding, like you do, that outdoor pursuits are reckless (i.e. hiking) obviously has no hobby that includes burning calories. If you are obese, you are costing me money right now in the form of inflated health insurance premiums.

  4. bobcat1a says:

    We should change the motto of the United States to read: “Don’t tax me, and don’t tax thee; tax that man behind the tree.”

  5. Well, MT Rainier is ran by the federal gov’t If I remember correctly the permits help pay for the rescues.In Pierce county the citizen pay between 2-3 Deputies to run the searches,the people who actually do majority of the searches are all volunteers and they pay for their equipment out their own pockets.I don’t know exactly how much the volunteers save the taxpayers. But here’s a way to look at.Tax dollars didn’t pay for and equip a 4×4 cruiser (35G+ , tax dollars didn’t pay for a volunteer to go through training, tax dollars didn’t pay for their survival gear,your tax dollars are not paying some1 52,000 (lo end of scale) a year not including OT or Benefits,tax dollars does pay for routine maint of the 4×4. So if taxpayers actually had to pay for a search that last 24 just rookie pay @ 27.53 hr x lets say 25 searchers= your looking at 16,518 min. So next time you see a someone wearing anything saying either Pierce co. Explorer search and rescue, Pierce co 4×4 search and rescue, Tacoma Mtn rescue, German Sheppard search dogs,NW bloodhounds. Rapid response search and rescue, Peninsula mounted rescue. You might want to Thank them for saving you Thousand in taxes and you might want to consider donating money to one which are tax deductible. It doesn’t need to be much. The views in this comment are strictly those of the author who has no affiliation of any of the above mention organizations in any shape or form.

  6. Frankenchrist says:

    People who sit on the couch watching Fox News, drinking beer & getting fat should pay a bond to cover their inevitiable health issues.

  7. slugoxyz says:

    Ah Ben. Norsey makes a very good point. Do you know how much stupid stuff your tax dollars pay for? Search and Rescue is not one I begrudge anyone. And you’re begrudging outdoor lovers even the indirect costs? Really? Oh brother. Get off your couch and go do something. And when you screw it up, I’ll chip in to go rescue you.

    Do you know how much money the outdoor industry contributes to your local economy? I just dropped $600 in an REI and my Garmin, some clothes, Cliff Bars and whatever only filled one bag. The guys who climb Mt Rainier? They buy thousands of dollars worth of …stuff from boots, gaiters, socks, all the way up to their climbing helmets. Hikers? Same thing. Special boots, pants, Garmins, poles etc. Mountain bikers spend thousands. Trail runners probably spend less than anyone but generally spend $100+ on their shoes, clothes, hats etc.

    By all means, these outdoor folk should be prepared for the worst but as a former soldier and current outdoor kind of guy, stuff happens that you didn’t plan for. Injuries, dead batteries, broken equipment or just bad luck or ugly weather. That’s when S&R saves the day. There is nothing else those Search and Rescue guys and girls would rather do. And like a fireman, they sit around waiting for the call. Yes. You pay for it but the sales tax derived from that industry probably pays for a lot more infrastructure than you and your TV remote. So relax. Stop stressing the little stuff.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0