Here’s how much all of those hiker rescue operations are costing taxpayers

Bump and Grind Trail (Facebook)
Bump and Grind Trail (Facebook)
Bump and Grind Trail (Facebook)

No matter how hot it gets in the Coachella Valley and no matter how many times people are warned to stay off the damn hiking trails in the heat, some still do it anyway. And, when the times comes for them to be rescued, you and other taxpayers are picking up the tab. How wonderful.

So how much money are we talking?

“Depending on the circumstances of the rescue, if it entails using a helicopter which is very expensive, you’re looking at a thousand to twelve hundred dollars an hour,” Doug Stevens, a volunteer with the Palm Springs Mounted Police Search and Rescue Team, told KMIR.

Depending on the length of the rescue operation, things can get really costly.  Crews located two teenagers after searching for five days in Orange County’s Trabuco Canyon in 2013 – but at a cost of $160,000, all of which was paid by taxpayers.

There are times when that cost could be paid by the rescued hiker – such as a federal or state law being broken or someone displaying reckless misconduct. But, even if that were to happen, the county is still probably not getting any money.

“People get parking tickets and they ignore them. It’s kind of the same thing. ‘I can’t afford this.’ And we’ve actually had people tell us if they had to pay, they would find a way out of the hills if we we’re going to charge them. And it was sad because, I mean, people are making a choice, I’d rather die than get help,” Stevens told KMIR.

Stevens added, “I’ve never seen a hiker have to pay a bill yet.”

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