When hikers need help, who foots the rescue bill?

When hikers need help, who foots the rescue bill?

If you run into trouble in the great outdoors, your rescue could come with a hefty price tag — but it all depends on where you are.

By: Laura Moss


Search and rescue workers finish day of searching Zion National Park for lost hikers on September 15. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

A family of four will soon receive an estimated $500 bill from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department after their daytime hike left them lost in the dark and required search and rescue (SAR). If they had purchased a $35 Hike Safe Card before departing, their rescue costs would’ve been covered. This raises an interesting question: Who picks up the tab when you get lost or injured in the great outdoors?

In New Hampshire, hikers and others participating in outdoors activities who buy a voluntary Hike Safe Card won’t be held liable for rescue costs even if they’re deemed negligent. However, they’ll still have to pay response expenses if they’re found to have acted recklessly. Read more.