Photo Credit: Grand County Search and Rescue, via Facebook.

Photo Credit: Grand County Search and Rescue, via Facebook.

Backcountry rescues are on the rise in Colorado, with call-outs for help doubling over the last two years. Search and rescue operations are often expensive, but the costs aren't typically passed on to the caller when an incident occurs. Instead, costs of search and rescue operations tend to fall on search and rescue teams and even individual team members.

As a non-profit corporation, Colorado Search and Rescue Association relies on public donations and the dedication of volunteers to keep teams trained and ready to respond. In 2019, volunteers donated more than 500,000 hours during training and responding to search and rescue missions. A total of 2,875 missions were carried out last year. 

“When the pagers go off, we don’t know how long we are going for,” said Jeff Sparhawk President of Colorado Search and Rescue Association.

How you can help

By purchasing a CORSAR card or by making a donation, you can help reimburse search and rescue teams for costs, such as fuel and equipment, that are incurred while providing help to lost and injured hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, hunters, and more. 

It's important to note the CORSAR card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Search and rescue will come to your aid regardless of whether or not you've purchased the card, though rescuing an individual with a CORSAR card means that teams have a better opportunity to get reimbursed.

The cost of the CORSAR card is $3 for one year or $12 for five years. CORSAR cards can be purchased online or at several local retailers.  

Twenty-five cents of each state hunting and fishing license, boat, snowmobile and off-highway vehicle registration also goes into the Colorado Search and Rescue Reimbursement Fund.

"Please stay local and dial it back," the Colorado Search and Rescue Association website states amid the pandemic "Choose activities, distances, and projects that are conservative. Now is not the time to push your limits or engage in high-risk activity."

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