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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In The News: $500 Rides For Lazy Pike's Peak Hikers

I can't relate. People actually hike to the top of a mountain, then call 9-1-1 because they're too tuckered--or too lazy--to hike back down? Apparently, they do.

Located near the city of Colorado Springs, Pike's Peak is the second most visited mountain in the world next to Japan's Mt. Fuji, so says the article in the Denver Post, entitled, "$500 Rides for Lazy Pike's Peak Hikers Pondered." The summit, at 14,115 feet, can be accessed either on foot on 12.6-mile Barr Trail with a 7,500-foot elevation gain or by vehicle on the 19-mile toll road operated by the city. More than half a million people visit the summit by one means or another each year.

And some of those who walk aren't up for the return trip. El Paso County's all-volunteer Search & Rescue team has had its fill of running two-and-a-half hour "taxi missions" to retrieve these pooped hikers and have stopped doing so, so Pike's Peak Highway officials are now considering a plan to charge uninjured callers for the service. According to the proposal, hikers who request a ride before highway rangers have gone home would be charged $100, while the fee would rise to $500 after hours and even higher if plowing is necessary.

A sign warning of the fees would be placed halfway up the Barr Trail.

The Denver Post article generated quite a few comments, with the vast majority of respondents (if not all?) in favor of the new fines.

One hiker was already fined $500 last December, when he arrived at the summit after dark and broke into the restaurant and gift shop to avoid freezing. (He was also charged for the broken window.)

So what do you think about this? Do you think the fine (and trail sign) will deter people from calling and, thefore, put them at risk? Or do you think it's the way to go?

1 comment:

maria said...

I believe that if a person calls the Search and Rescue without being in danger or hurt, that they should pay a fine.

$500.00 is not even enough.