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Old 01-12-2006   #11
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by DanOrion
What exactly does the SAR card (or a hunting/fishing license) actually cover besides time and materials for the county sheriff during search for your broken/lost/sorry ass?

Don't let this discourage anyone from purchasing a card, even if it's charity, it's one hell of a worthy one.

From the SAR website:
The CORSAR Card Is Not Insurance

The card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.
The SAR card makes sure that the Search and Rescue groups that are called out on a rescue are paid for their efforts. The card means that the S&R group will get paid from a state fund. It also means you are not liable for the charges in regards to a Search and Rescue effort. Which can be costly. Last year we had two hikers lost on 14'ers. One had paid for a SAR card, so no charge for the search effort. The other guy got a bill for $5k.
It isn't insurance, but pays for a part of the S&R effort. Well worth having IMO. If you get flight for life'd, ambulance, whatever, that is up to you to take care of the bills associated with that. Hopefully you have a health insurance that covers it.
The nice about the SAR card is that you don't have to have it on you to be covered. They keep that info in a registry.

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Old 01-12-2006   #12
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
KSC, you ask a good question, so here's my reply.

I work full time and pay taxes, too. So, I'm not riding for free either. You're asking a loaded question though. If I say yes, then you think why don't I go to a private school. If I say no, then you think I'm a hypocrite.

I understand your point and to some extent I agree with what you're saying. I did look at the latest figures on the DU website which is a comparable private university and they pay twice what I do, so 5,600, not 15,000, but that really doesn't matter. Furthermore, they have some fees, too, but they don't nickle and dime you like CU, but that doesn't matter either.

Here's my reply thought which is I realize another question: does it bother you that a University system builds its overhead costs way out past what they would be if they would stick to their core mission of education?

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Old 01-12-2006   #13
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Interesting aside about the high cost of education...you pay a pittance, btw, of what someone back east would...but the question is about a public service that saves lives and there is a fundamental difference. If you don't pay for and go to college, you are not going to die. You might be better off, actually, saving your money. If you find yourself it trouble far, far away from civilization, then you very well may die if someone doesn't come and get you. You don't need to be careless, unprepared or stupid to get into trouble in an inherently dangerous environment. So "taking responsibility" and footing the bill -- though that may be the right thing to do -- shouldn't be viewed as a consequence of being a dumbass. Very capable and very prepared people have found themselves in need of rescue. And for many bc users, personally fronting the expense of such a rescue may be a fiscal impossibility.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 01-12-2006   #14
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490

Totally agree with you about competent people requiring rescue.

I don't understand what you're saying though, are you saying that you think everyone should have to pay regardless of perceived negligence, or that no one should have to pay because it's a public service funded by our tax dollars?
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Old 01-12-2006   #15
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Posts: 989
Essentially, it's a question of ethics and a contentious one at that. All the arguments put forth so far have made valid points, especially about other fire/rescue/police services being provided for by the government. What else are our tax dollars for? (bombs) Also, if some rescue-ees are to be charged and others not, who is to decide? A panel of experts?

The idea of purchasing some sort of "card" for a nominal fee with all the money going into the "rescue pot", if you will, is the only viable idea, really...if you have the card and you need a rescue you're off the hook. If not, you're out a few hundred to a few thousand bucks and it was dumb of you not to pick one up for a few dollars. It sounds as if this idea is already in practice, visa vi the CORSAR card, no? This kind of private subsidy would make rescue more affordable for the state...and if I'm not mistaken most SAR guys are volunteers with real jobs, right? My buddy the orthodontist does it because he enjoys it...maybe this isn't the norm but I don't think rescue operations need to be profitable. Dunno.

But I don't see how you can charge people for rescue across the board. You would have all sorts of contentions like "I was uncontious, well, I never really *asked* to be rescued" and "I could've made it out alright on my own" and then you'd need some sort of documents for people to sign while the SAR guy is dangling in the basket under a chopper and rediculous shit like that. Collections agencies, repo men...bad news all around.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 01-16-2006   #16
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,031

Didn't intend to ask a loaded question. I thought you might be against public funding of higher education, and I don't think it's necessarily hypocritical to take that stand while still attending a public school.

I liked the connection you made to higher education, because especially in Colorado it's relevant and a good representative of a general category where public institutions provide a service that may not directly benefit every individual, but is crucial to the success and health of our communities. (for instance the opponents to light rail in the metro area argued that lines wouldn't run by everybody's house so it wasn't fair for everyone to pay taxes to fund it)

So in answer to your question about student fees, there may be a couple student fees that are questionable, but in general, I think the fees are ok. For example, even if you don't attend any of the cultural events that the fee pays for, funding for cultural events on campus is important, and you indirectly benefit from it.

As for the topic at hand, I think BSE probably nailed it. Rescuing people is probably something that should be considered a basic service, so I wouldn't mind seeing this be entirely public funded. I honestly think getting stuck out in the wilderness and risking death is enough of a disincentive, and having to pay your own rescue fees isn't going to help much. However, the COSAR card has a reasonable premise and probably isn't going to change anytime soon. It would be nice to increase education though. The program would get better funding and more people going into the backcountry would be protected. Given that the card is only a few bucks a year, I'll bet 99% of the people that go out into the backcountry would buy it if offered, but most people probably aren't aware of it or just forget to buy one.

As for ducking ropes at the resort, I have my doubts that increasing the fine from $300 to $500 is really going to change behavior. "Hey dude, check out that powder stash, let's hit it." - "No way man, I heard they just increased the fine from $300 to $500." I would maybe lean towards opening boundaries and increasing warnings and education ala Canada, etc.
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Old 01-16-2006   #17
I'm wrong 50% of the time
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RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
Just to put in my opinion... My snowmobile registration also includes a SAR fee just like Hunting and Fishing Licenses. I also pd $12 for a SAR hiking Cert. I pay medical ins every month and I pay dues to the local Snowmobile club. ( keep us in the BC). I also have friends in the volunteer Pitkin Country Search and Rescue Team. The cost is not to the team or the county, the real cost is put on the employers that allow their hard working employees time off to go rescue someone that needs help. There is also a difference between rescue teams. Some are certified (read trained) and some are not.
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Old 01-16-2006   #18
e-town, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 274
As a memeber of Vail mountain rescue ( and formely Western State), and a ski patroller I have varied views of this subject. As a patroller we sometimes go into backcountry situations as needed. As a resort I believe we can 'send bills' to recover the cost of manpower and equipment used in the search/ recovery of a victim. Although I have only heard of this once, and they didnt pay a dime. As a volunteer rescuer the only time I have heard of people being charged is when there is illegal activity involved. Examples: a young guy was drunk, high, tripping acid and decided to go hiking in the black canyon, obviously he fell, needed a 500' vertical rescue at night. he was spitting on the rangers on the way up and was combative the entire time ( partially due to a head injury) He was charged for the time and equipment that needed to be replaced FOR THE VOLUNTEER TEAMS, not for the park service personell becasue he was in a national park. #2 a hunter and his 12 y.o. son go hunting, the sun with a gun, gets lost, it was a short search ( 5 hours) but the father allowed his son to carry a gun when the law says they must be 14 to do so. Did the teams see a dime of this money? nope. Typically this money goes into the county funds and dispersed from there, never directly to the team. So... my opinion, I don't go looking for people who dont want to be found, I also feel that the majority of the work that we do are products of bad fortune, sometimes with some stupidity involved. If the victim is grossly negligent, or there is illegal activity involved they should be charged. keeping it real while keeping it safe, enjoy the snow!

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