New Hampshire is a great place to have some outdoor fun. Depending on the season, you may enjoy hiking, boating, snowmobiling, or perhaps cross-country skiing. The Thanksgiving storm was an early reminder of the outdoor activities available in the winter.
A new law takes effect on January 1, 2015, which will allow the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to sell “hike safe cards” for $25 per person or $35 per family. These are voluntary cards but if you decide to purchase one then you won’t be held liable should you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to be rescued, even if you are negligent. However, you will still be held accountable if you act recklessly or intentionally act in a way as to create a situation that requires an emergency response.
One interesting fact is that while it is being called a “hike safe card”, the NH Fish and Game Department won’t actually be issuing cards, but you can either print out the purchase information or save the pdf to your smart phone. It is also important to note that anyone who possesses a current hunting or fishing license, or registration for a snowmobile, boat or recreational vehicle, is already exempt from liability even if you act negligently and need to be rescued.
Without the purchase of the “hike safe card” or other exempted status, the NH Fish and Game Department could seek to pursue you for the reimbursement of any of the costs involved in your rescue if you are found to have acted negligently. As we look forward to the New Year, this new law may be something to keep in mind. Have fun, stay safe, and Happy New Year!