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Norman_Clyde

Letter to P-I blames climbers for rescue costs

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Right on time, a P-I reader has written a letter complaining about the cost of mountain rescue, complaining "Why should taxpayers subsidize dangerous behavior?"

Previous discussions on this board, led by informed individuals, have stated that the majority of rescue costs are generated by lost hikers, hunters, etc., not climbers, but that these rescues generate less media interest, hence th public's misinformed opinion. Since there are several members of this board who take part in SAR and are highly capable of refuting the Blame the Climber argument, I'm posting this to request one of you (Sobo? Iain?) to respond to the P-I letter. I might also write one myself, but I think someone working in SAR will have more credibility. Thanks smile.gif

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Norman,

Can you paste the letter here or a link to it? I don't get the P-I anymore. TIA.

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Doesn't really matter anyway. Fact is, this complainer is not paying for anything. It's all volunteer, except for the sheriff's deputy that serves as the laison from the County to SAR. That's the only paid position in SAR/MR that I know of.

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Taxpayers subsidize others' dangerous hobby

 

Who pays for mountain rescues?

Virtually every day, Seattleites are made aware of yet another case of a rescue off Mount Rainier or other local mountains. Why should taxpayers subsidize dangerous behavior?

 

I understand that some people are born to climb and enjoy the thrill of hiking, but perhaps they should be compelled to acquire insurance that will pay for their evacuation in case of emergency. It seems only fair that the people who choose this risky endeavor should bear the burden of paying for their rescue. I'm sick of picking up the tab for the dangerous and irresponsible choices of others.

 

Keith Leeman

Seattle

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Thanks, CC. This guy is clearly clueless.

 

Does the P-I provide a link/email to submit Letters to the Editor in response?

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Why not just Google-stalk Keith Leeman, drive to his house and bitch slap him upside the head for being such a doofus? rolleyes.gif Surely much simpler than going to all the trouble of writing a letter to an editor?

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I'm sick of picking up the tab for the dangerous and irresponsible choices of others.

Transcribing this last line, I find myself thinking not of mountain rescue, but of what I see in a typical shift in the ER. From my perspective it looks like 90 per cent of tax revenue goes to pick up the tab for the dangerous and irresponsible choices of others. Drunk driving comes to mind.

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Why not just Google-stalk Keith Leeman, drive to his house and bitch slap him upside the head for being such a doofus?

 

He donates to charities you insensitive clod! (I found a 2004 tax return photocopy in his trash).

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Thanks, CC. This guy is clearly clueless.

 

Does the P-I provide a link/email to submit Letters to the Editor in response?

editpage@seattlepi.com

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Doesn't really matter anyway. Fact is, this complainer is not paying for anything. It's all volunteer, except for the sheriff's deputy that serves as the laison from the County to SAR. That's the only paid position in SAR/MR that I know of.

 

Just a question on this point: What about the helicopters involved? I know that they're very expensive to fly...

 

I do think that writing a response letter is the best way to get the message out to the audience of that newspaper at least...

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Just a question on this point: What about the helicopters involved? I know that they're very expensive to fly...

 

I do think that writing a response letter is the best way to get the message out to the audience of that newspaper at least...

The military choppers write the time off as training.

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He donates to charities you insensitive clod!

 

Fahq'n great! He shouldn't have any qualms about donating to Mountain Rescue, then. rolleyes.gif

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Doesn't really matter anyway. Fact is, this complainer is not paying for anything. It's all volunteer, except for the sheriff's deputy that serves as the laison from the County to SAR. That's the only paid position in SAR/MR that I know of.

 

I would like to write a letter refuting the misperception of costs. Where can I look up facts on volunteer hours? Who pays for the use of vehicles and helicopters? Who buys bandages and all that?

 

And why does Leeman talk like climbers don't also pay taxes?

Hope this isn't a stupid question: but has any climbing group done a demographic/financial study on climbers? I wonder what the estimate is on our taxes paid, our donations to climbing/wildlife groups, our time donations to trails maintenance, our fees paid for parking permits, etc etc etc....

 

Any thoughts or input?

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cj has it right. When MAST was here (before taking their choppers to Iraq), they were staffed by pilots, chiefs, and WOs out of the Midwest who rotated out here for training. They are paid by your tax dollars that goes to the military. You'd be paying for them whether or not they are rescuing someone.

 

The Blackhawks that come out of Salem are National Guard birds. The folks staffing these copters have other jobs, too.

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Thanks, CC. This guy is clearly clueless.

 

Does the P-I provide a link/email to submit Letters to the Editor in response?

editpage@seattlepi.com

 

Thanks, Brian.

 

I'll be picking up Leeman's glove tonight after work.

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# "Compared to hiker, hunter, skier, and other backcountry incidents, the climbing population [in 2001] fared well. According to Mike Gauthier, Chief Climbing Ranger for Mount Rainier National Park, 'As a group, mountain climbers aren't the most expensive to rescue.' It is lost hikers and hunters who have achieved this distinction." (American Alpine Clubs' Accidents in North American Mountaineering, 2002).

 

Access Fund page

 

I believe the Access Fund has a more specific analysis of the economic benefits of recreational rock climbing somewhere, and I'm sure there is more discusssion of rescue costs available.

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There is also a very large report on rescue costs on the front page of the American Alpine Club's website right now. I'm sure they would be more than interested in helping you out, Ms. Archenemy.

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