A new study shows that the National Park Service, on average, conducts 11 search and rescue operations per day according to this story from the Associated Press, with operations ranging form finding a lost hiker to rescuing stranded climbers, and just about everything in between.
The study was conducted by an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota named Travis Heggie, who examined SAR reports from 1992 to 2007. In total, Heggie researched more than 65,000 rescues during that period of time, and his report indicates that those operations cost tax payers in excess of $58 million.
As you might expect, the study also indicated that weekends are the busiest times for search and rescue teams, and that those that were most often in need of rescue were day hikers and boaters. A sizable majority of those who were rescued were also young men, who are more likely to take chances and less likely to ask for help when they get into trouble.
At first glance, eleven sounds like an awfully high number for a typical day, but when you consider that the NPS oversees nearly 400 different parks and historical sites, with 275 million visitors each year, the numbers don’t seem nearly so bad. Likewise, that $58 million price tag for rescue operations doesn’t seem incredibly out of line when you consider that it was spread out over 15 years either. Still, that is an impressive number of search and rescue operations to be conducted on any given day.