Council Discusses Charge for Backcountry Rescues

DAVID SELLES
Crowsnest Pass Herald Reporter

Council spent some time discussing the municipality’s current policy for backcountry rescue services and whether or not they would like to see changes made to the policy.
Previous Council in 2006 implemented a policy where cost recovery was to be pursued for nonresidents in relation to backcountry rescue services.
While this policy remains in our system, it is unclear if it is aligned with Council's current wishes.
Additionally, the existing policy is incomplete and does not contain appropriate language or preciseness to follow.
In the information presented to Council, they were told charging a fee for backcountry rescue operations is an extremely contentious topic.
Opponents of this argue that there should never be an actual or perceived barrier to calling for help when needed.
Essentially, if a person knows they may not have funds to cover rescue costs, they may not call for help when they truly need it, which could be potentially life threatening.
In BC and Alberta, it is uncommon to charge for rescue services; even in highly populated recreation areas.
The Crowsnest Pass, due to its unlimited mountain and wilderness terrain, experience high volumes of visitors who recreate here and to the north inside the jurisdiction of Ranchlands, sometimes finding themselves in trouble that they cannot get themselves out of.