CONTACT:
Lt. Todd Bogardus (603) 744-5470
Rebecca Oreskes, (603) 466-2713
November 9, 2004

Quiet Fall Search-and-Rescue Season in New Hampshire's Mountains
The N.H. Outdoor Council Key to Recent Funding of hikeSafe Program in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. -- Ask a New Hampshire search-and-rescue volunteer how the fall has been, and the answer for most is: "uneventful."

Along with beautiful weather, hikers and rescue workers have enjoyed a relatively quiet season in the mountains in terms of emergencies, thanks in part to the New Hampshire Outdoor Council (NHOC), which serves as a conduit for some funding of volunteer search and rescue groups and has supported the hikeSafe program in its efforts to educate hikers about safe, responsible behavior.

hikeSafe logoAccording to hikeSafe coordinator Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game, there have been fewer than the usual number of rescue operations this fall. "We feel lucky and grateful that hikers and other outdoorspeople seem to be taking extra care in the mountains," said Bogardus. "The weather is extremely unpredictable this time of year, so we strongly encourage people to be prepared with the right knowledge and gear to have a fun time, safely." Bogardus says that a major reason for a search-and-rescue effort in New Hampshire is when someone's lack of preparation causes them to become lost, delayed or injured.

The hikeSafe educational initiative was developed to help reduce the numbers of search and rescue incidents and emergencies by educating outdoor users on the proper preparation when recreating and hiking in New Hampshire. Staff from New Hampshire Fish and Game and the White Mountain National Forest are partners in the design and implementation of hikeSafe. Among the materials developed to date is a hikeSafe brochure, outlining the Hiker Responsibility Code, which provides all hikers with guidelines for safety in the mountains.

The NHOC recently donated more than $14,000 in funding to the hikeSafe program to reprint and distribute the hikeSafe brochure and to fund the development and production of a hikeSafe poster. Both items will be used to promote the hikeSafe messages of preparedness and safety.

The New Hampshire Outdoor Council is a volunteer non-profit organization formed in 1986, in part as a response to concerns that search and rescue incidents in New Hampshire's backcountry put an unnecessary burden on public resources. The NHOC receives donations, often from those rescued, which they then distribute in the form of grants. These grants provide support to help defray expenses for supplies, equipment and specialized emergency training to the many volunteer search-and-rescue organizations associated with search and rescue in New Hampshire. The NHOC is responsible for providing such equipment as rescue litters, medical supplies, avalanche rescue equipment and mobile radios, to name a few. The Outdoor Council is also committed to providing safety education to the many outdoor users of the Granite State.

To make a donation to aid New Hampshire search-and-rescue organizations, contact the NH Outdoor Council at P.O. Box 157, Kearsarge, NH 03847-0157.

For more information about hikeSafe or the NHOC, visit www.hikesafe.com, or contact Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game, (603) 744-5470 or tbogardus@nhfgd.org; or Rebecca Oreskes of the White Mountain National Forest, (603) 466-2713 x212 or roreskes@fs.fed.us.

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Hiker Responsibility Code
You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:

  • With knowledge and gear. Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.
  • To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you'll return and your emergency plans.
  • To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.
  • To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.
  • For emergencies, even if you are headed out for just an hour. An injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don't assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.
  • To share the hiker code with others.

hikeSafe -- There and Back -- It's Your Responsibility!


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