Beginning this week, Utah will join Colorado and New Hampshire in beginning a program, which offers no-charge rescues for athletes taking on the backcountry. The state will charge $25 for personal and $35 for family annual passes as an effort to raise money for rescue missions, and take the financial burden off of individuals with cards whom require a rescue.
Many of Utah’s 29 counties receive a limited kickback from the state, and the funds from pass sales will be distributed to counties through the Search and Rescue Finance Assistance program. The state expects to raise $10,000 from sales this year.
This rescue program will be a large aid to smaller counties who normally rely on charity events to fund their rescues. Additionally, funds will offset rising maintenance and fuel costs, as helicopter rescues can start at $1,000 an hour.
Passes will go on sale when http://rescueutah.gov/ is launched.