Wyo. Lawmaker Seeks to Charge Major Fees for Backcountry Rescues


(JACKSON, Wyo.) – A Wyoming state legislator from Jackson is pursuing a measure that would allow sheriff’s departments to bill people needing backcountry rescues.

Rep. Keith Gingery says he was inspired to propose the measure after a rescue of snowmobilers last year cost Teton County $14,000.

The Wyoming Search and Rescue Council normally reimburse rescues, which are funded by donations and registrations for hunting, fishing, and snowmobile use.


  • Roger Ault says:

    Highly subjective issue to me. If they needed rescue due to accident or illness then no. If someone sets off a PLB or makes a call for help because they didn’t plan well (I.E. it’s cold and raining and they have no rain gear or insulation) Then, yes I would be Okay with billing them. Why should everyone have to pay for the stupidity of a few?

  • Andrew Bishop says:

    Agree, Roger. It’s galling when someone calls for help due to gross stupidity or laziness. Apart from the extreme cases though, it can be difficult to set a point where the group should be obliged to help out the individual and it’s not as if $14k is going to put a big dent in the Teton County coffers – though perhaps they had to conduct many such rescues. If it comes down to the $$, I can see this heading towards a situation where we need to have private insurance cover for adventuring.

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