Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If you go in the woods, take the proper gear. Get CORSAR and be prepared for the worst.

If you get lost, hurt, sick or stuck and can't get out of the woods on your own, the Sheriffs of Colorado have the statutory obligation to perform search and rescue operations to get you out. This goes for every inch of the County except tribal land. The portions of San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness in La Plata County are covered by the County Sheriff. In La Plata County as with most Colorado counties, Sheriff Schirard has organized volunteers to perform this duty.

La Plata County Search and Rescue is a nonprofit organization that funds its training and equipment through donations and grants. It's volunteers that are the ones spending their time away from home and loved ones to train and respond for others. Often times this comes at personal risk and personal expense, but never ask anything in return. Butch Knowlton with the Sheriff's Dept. and Emergency Management gives oversight and guidance to the group for the County.

Some things are not free, like helicopters and planes to find you or transport people and gear to you or to get you out. The Sheriff pays for those expenses through County funds. We don't charge you for those costs on searches and rescues. At $1500 to $5000 per hour, those helicopters can add up fast over the year or on a single mission. Our only hope to recover some of those costs is through the Colorado Outdoor Search and Rescue Fund. If you have a hunting or fishing license, if you registered an OHV (ATV, UTV, dirtbike or snowmobile), or if you purchased a CORSAR card from an outdoor retailer; then you could potentially save the County thousands of dollars. The fund can also pay for equipment lost or damaged helping you or a family member, whether the equipment was team or volunteer owned. It can pay for things like fuel to transport volunteers' horses or ATVs. Every penny left over at the end of the year goes back to training and equipment for the volunteer teams across the state. For the anti-government types, the fund doesn't pay for county salaries or to operate county owned equipment.

Some things can be charged like medical transport from ambulance service or fire district, or if in connection to criminal activity.

Colorado's CORSAR program is considered one of the most accepted and successful programs in the Country. EVERYONE who goes onto public land of any sort in Colorado should be sure to have paid into the fund that supports the volunteers who will come to save you the day you need it.

So far in 2014, La Plata County Search and Rescue has rescued 6 mountain bikers, 9 climbers, 1 horseback rider, 4 lost hikers, 2 stuck in a 4x4, 2 swimmers, and 2 out of bounds skiers. All but 4 people rescued could be considered experts in their sport. So far, we only know of 4 out of the 26 people rescued who paid into the CORSAR fund.

Get CORSAR now. $3 per year or $12 for 5 years
Donate to the LPCSAR Team

Get more info on back country preparedness http://laplatacountyoem.blogspot.com/2012/03/back-country-tips-from-la-plata-county.html

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