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 Oregon Mountaineering Association
131 NW 4th St. # 258; Corvallis OR 97330
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Search and Rescue Fund
Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue

Licensed Persons vs. cash-carry seach and rescue - Commentary on this approach by Scott Silver of - follows the press release



The new Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card, created through the passage of Senate Bill 57, is now available for purchase. The CORSAR card replaces the Hiking Certificate previously sold by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and offers the same means for individuals to participate in the Colorado Search and Rescue Fund.

Participants with hunting licenses, fishing licenses, registrations for boats, snowmobiles, off-highway vehicles, or the new CORSAR card are considered licensed persons under Colorado law. There are significant benefits to becoming a licensed person. First, should a licensed person become lost or injured during a back country excursion or activity such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, etc., any eligible search and/or rescue expenses, incurred by law enforcement or SAR personnel during a rescue mission will be paid by the Colorado SAR Fund and not billed to that licensed person. Second, licensed persons contribute financially to a program providing funding to train and equip search and rescue volunteers throughout the state.

The cards are available for $3.00 per year and can be purchased through local vendors or by calling the Department of Local Affairs at (970) 248-7310.

Persons with hunting or fishing licenses or the vehicle registrations specified above are already covered by the fund and do not need an additional CORSAR card. Hiking Certificates purchased prior to the new program will be honored through their expiration date.

Every year thousands of people are lost or injured in Colorado's vast backcountry. Many are rescued by dedicated volunteers operating under the direction of Colorado's County Sheriffs. Unfortunately, local budgets are often inadequate to cover the burden of search and rescue as more visitors seek the enjoyment and solitude of back country recreation.

Colorado's Search and Rescue Fund provides a means of reimbursing these costs when search missions are conducted for persons licensed to hunt or fish or those using registered equipment such as snowmobiles or boats.

The growth in popularity of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, climbing, camping and other activities not requiring licenses or registration means that many users are not vested in the fund.

The CORSAR Card is a means to voluntarily participate in funding the cost of missions, training, and equipment for search and rescue in Colorado. For $3 for one year, interested persons can become vested in the fund by purchasing a card. In the event that person is lost or injured in the back country, the costs of a rescue mission will be paid by the fund.

CORSAR Cards can be purchased at many local vendors, or by calling the Department of Local Affairs at (970) 248-7310.

The Fund is administered by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs with assistance from an eleven member Advisory Board. A report on fund activity is produced annually.

Licensed Persons vs. cash-carry seach and rescue

Commentary by Scott Silver,
After payment of just a few dollars a year -- hikers, skiers, kayakers, climbers and other non-motorized outdoor recreationist in Colorado can now become "licensed persons" and share in all of the benefits that come with being a "licensed person".

But if you now get lost in Colorado without being a licensed person, you might think long and hard before using your cell phone to summons help --- because from now on, you'll end up paying for more that just the call!

So, I wonder, what happens if you've paid your money and having made your call for help, help doesn't come, or doesn't come within a reasonable time? Can you sue for breach of contract?

Or what happens if, for whatever reason, you are NOT a licensed person get lost or hurt? What happens if you have only sufficient money to pay for the call, but to not enough money pay your rescuers when they arrive? Will they leave you to die because you didn't purchase your licensed? Or will they be kind, and allow you to pay on the installment program if you live, or allow your family to pay if you don't.

Something strikes me a being dreadfully wrong with turning search and rescue into a cash-carry business. One can only presume that pay-to-play police protection and fire protection will be next.

Scott Silver,

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