The High Cost of Being Rescued

Erik OlsenThis is a tough one: is it wrong for someone who goes hiking/climbing/whatever and gets LOST to be charged when they are rescued? My initial answer is yes, absolutely. They are the ones undertaking some risky action and venturing voluntarily into the wilderness.

But then again, as I read this piece, I thought, $5000? Ouch. That seems like a bit of a deterrent to going out on risky ventures, no? First of all, I’d hate for people to stop going outdoors because they fear the cost of rescue. Further, the people that do the rescues, well, that’s what they do. It is a good thing to have folks like this on their toes, continually being trained through rescue missions. I don’t see too big a problem with letting tax payers pick up the tab over all. To spread out the cost of keeping these people around.

Well, the reason I bring this up at all is that this article here discusses how a young hiker named David Seals hurt his ankle and had to be rescued in Colorado. Seals is a 35-year-old Topeka man, and spent one night a week ago on a steep hillside in the mountains. He was rescued by several fire departments, which apparently had to leave their districts or some such thing, and so then presented him with a rather large bill. They’ve backed off a bit, it appears, but the issue is still one worth contemplating. Should people who get lost or hurt in the wilderness pay for being rescued?