It would be interesting to know how much money is spent annually in British Columbia on rescuing stranded skiers and snowmobilers who choose to ignore clearly-marked barricades and head into the backwoods to where the real action is.
It's probably millions.
We hear about it every year, the latest incident being in Revelstoke last week where a father and his three teenage sons, vacationing from Sweden, passed underneath a rope and were stranded. Fortunately, they were all safely rescued and did not require medical attention. Hopefully, they pass along a good word in Sweden about the fine hospitality of British Columbians.
In this case, it could have been accidental, but in most cases it's not.
There's more extreme examples.
Several years ago, a Penticton teen was lost for several days when he and several friends went hiking beyond Naramata.
Once rescued, rather than learn his lesson, he required a second rescue when a similar event happened only weeks later.
While skiers are often the biggest culprits, snowmobilers who enjoy the reckless activity of high-marking (seeing how far up a mountain the machine will take you without crashing) put themselves and others at risk.
Some individuals clearly love extreme sports. If there's no danger, what fun would it be?
We have an obligation to our fellow man to rescue them from potential death, even when they're being reckless or fail to exercise common sense. That's fine, but once a successful rescue has occurred, a bill should be sent in the mail.
It costs money to operate helicopters, pay staff, organize search operations and pay police and other emergency personnel overtime not to mention putting emergency personnel and volunteers at risk.
People who snub their noses at rules - rules put in place for their own safety and the safety of their fellow man - can damn well ante up once it's over.
- Penticton Herald Managing Editor James M. Miller