Dow Williams wrote:As Vitality so elegantly put it, I want folks to be responsible for themselves in the backcountry. That means paying for rescue services if they need them, even if they have passed. Plain and simple.
Make you a deal though. Once I see impoverished kids in the city get access to the same health care as the predominantly middle aged/middle class white guys getting rescued in the bc....I will reconsider my position.
I understand your assertion, but I want more specifics, such as the caveats brought up by other users. For instance, if someone else calls in a rescue for you, which happens very often, are you still liable for the cost? How do you define specifically who is utilizing the sar service? On many missions there are multiple subjects and some fly out, some walk, and some bystanders also get a ride because they're pitching in or have donated supplies that have compromised their own ability to get themselves out on foot. Do the subjects who walk out or the bystanders who helped out also get charged? How about subjects of urban search and rescue incidents? Those represent probably a 1/4 of my county's responses. Is the county responsible for pursuing reimbursement from people who can't pay? Should the charges cover the full cost of SAR or just the public resources used during some specific time defined as the actual operation? Do expenses such as training and gear count?
Should the NPS, Parks Canada, and the USFS on Mount Adams change their policy to reflect this so only subjects of sar missions get charged, rather than user fees for all visitors? Currently the international rescue insurance offered by the AAC has never been invoked in the US as far as I know, should they be expected to cover these costs if someone has the insurance and gets billed for a rescue?
How do you propose to offset the extra liability cost that would be incurred by sar volunteers if charge-for-rescue goes into effect? Amendments to state constitutions regarding good samaritan laws, sar volunteers get a cut of the rescue charge, or just accept a reduced and more reticent sar membership? The MRA has said publicly that charge for rescue will kill volunteer search and rescue wherever it's enacted.
I'm not trying to be a dick going through these so incessantly, I'm going through the specifics is because it is the details which define why SAR is the way it is today, not because of an overarching political philosophy. I welcome cost-savings and more fairly-distributed resources for the sar system as much as I demand it for health care for all residents of my home country. As it stands now all of these details are accounted for in the present system and I'd like to know specifically how they will be dealt with in the system you envision. Eventually I recommend that you bring a proposal to the climbing community, your community at large, and/or the county and state governments that is specific and accounts for these details if you want to see them change. Every couple years, usually in close proximity to the latest high-profile incident on Hood or Rainer, a bill is introduced in WA or OR to change the way SAR operates, usually charge-for-rescue. Representatives from my unit have traveled to Olympia to testify against such bills, usually because they are poorly thought out and do not account for the details I mentioned above, numerous times and have so far been successful in seeing them be shelved. But as the MRA statement says, a dialogue on the subject is welcome. To do this you do have to restrict your emotional involvement and try to be a bit objective.
I have another question for you, and you shouldn't take it personally, but it will help me understand more of your position, Dow, are you a citizen of the USA?
For what it's worth both the inner-city kids and the middle-aged folks get services from me, either through SAR or the clinics I work at, and both at considerable cost to myself.
A5RP I don't understand your question, unless you're making the same point as me, which is that Dow has yet to specifically define who the individuals are.