I assume NH Fish and Game coordinate all SAR missons. Is that right?
I became curious about it so I looked it up. In NH the government bureaucrats are NH Fish and Game and NH Attorney General.
According to the NH Fish and Game website nonhiker/climber outdoor people seem to pay for us to have the luxury to be allowed a rescue free of charge as we enjoy the Freedom of the Hills
"Over the past six years (FY 2006-2012), the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department conducted approximately 957 search and rescue missions, at an approximate cost of $1.8 million.
Over the three years from 2010 to 2012, Fish and Game's expenditures for conducting search and rescue missions averaged approximately $360,000 annually.
In spite of what most people believe, tax dollars are not used to support these missions. To help funding Search and Rescue efforts, a $1 fee added to every boat, OHRV, and ATV registration is deposited into the Search and Rescue Fund. Any costs above and beyond what the boat and OHRV fees bring into Fish and Game each year must be covered with revenue from hunting and fishing license fees.
Climbers and hikers utilize 57% of all search and rescue services. Hunters, anglers, boaters, snowmobilers and ATV riders combined use 14% of the total services. Interestingly, 43% of all search and rescue missions are conducted on White Mountain National Forest properties
In 2008, a law was passed authorizing Fish and Game to request reimbursement from negligent hikers. If a personís behavior is determined to be negligent and, as a result of their negligent actions, a search mission was initiated, they may be asked to reimburse the Department for the costs of the mission. While this change in the law has helped Fish and Game recoup some costs, it falls far short of supporting the search and rescue program.
All Search and Rescue missions go through a review process involving guidelines established by the N.H. Attorney General's Office. That process involves the mission's supervisor within Fish and Game Law Enforcement, N.H. Fish and Game Department administration, and final concurrence through a review by the N.H. Attorney General's Office. All cases are unique and not all will get billed.
It hardly seems fair that sportsmen and women pay for search and rescue services; what can be done to change this?
There certainly needs to be a more equitable way to support these services. Over the past twenty years, New Hampshire Fish and Game has submitted a dozen different ideas and bills to the Legislature for consideration in an effort to address the financial shortfalls in the Search and Rescue fund in a way that would allow the broader public, which benefits from the services, to help pay for them. To date, most have failed to pass."