$2,500,000 to rescue hikers? I think we can do better.

WTF stampA recent post on Yosemiteblog.com highlights the issue that the park is having with unnecessary rescues.

Ill prepared and too confident for their own good, many day hikers are taking bold risks, betting against Mother Nature, and coming up short in the end only to call 911 to cash in their get-out-of-jail-free cards.  The problem is that the weather that crippled their adventure is still a real problem for the rescue team.  Many of the areas that hikers access are difficult for rescuers under the most perfect conditions.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am glad that rescue is an option and there are countless scenarios where I think rescue is absolutely warranted.  But it seems like the stories of rescues that could have been avoided are hitting my Google Reader with increasing frequency.  Some border on the absurd, and others make me appreciate the near-miss, thankful that the hiker was able to get help.

From the post: “While others turned back, Castillo pushed on up the park’s iconic feature, making him one of Yosemite National Park’s worst nightmares— the increasing number of wilderness neophytes who mistakenly think the government is obligated to save them.”

Apparently Yosemite doesn’t charge for the rescues which means the resources, more than $2,500,000 in the last few years, could have gone to something far more pressing if hikers would learn how to hike more responsibly and show some restraint.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that there is a growing number of people willing to go a bit further, a little more out of their comfort zone, or roll the dice on weather knowing that they can always pull the trigger on a rescue.

Is it just me or does this rub you the wrong way too?  I want to hear it.

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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.