SALT LAKE CITY — Outdoor enthusiasts in Utah may soon be able to purchase an inexpensive search and rescue card that exempts them from paying for the cost of a search and rescue operation should they get in trouble.
A legislative proposal aims to tweak that coverage and says people are off the hook for paying the expenses — provided they didn't engage in intentionally reckless behavior.
Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis said people would be surprised at how often there is incredibly zany behavior prompting search and rescue operations.
In testimony before the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee on Monday, Curtis said there were some men in Grand County who attached a slingshot to their vehicle in an attempt to catapult across a canyon.
Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, is sponsoring HB272 to address those instances.
Hinkins said county officials would make the determination about the nature of the behavior that would merit assessing search and rescue costs.
The Utah Search and Rescue Assistance Card program was established in 2015, but it has not been implemented because of legal concerns. Hinkins' measure addresses those concerns and would allow individuals to buy a card for $25, and $30 for families.
The measure passed 6-1 and advances to the Senate.