To the Editor:
I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital one morning very early in Colebrook. You stated that if we had concerns to communicate directly with you. We recently read the following article written by Norma Love, Associated Press, Thu, Feb 14, 2013.
She also includes $200,000 each year in the budget for search and rescue operations. For years, the Fish and Game Department has funded the program with license fees on hunters, anglers, snowmobiles and off-highway-recreation vehicles. The program has been running a deficit and critics argue hikers should pay a share since most of the rescues involve them.
"Ensuring public safety also means adequately recognizing that search-and-rescue is an integral state responsibility," she said.
Reference HB256, we certainly support your initiative but we feel it falls short. As you stated, license fees on hunters, anglers, snowmobiles and off-highway-recreation vehicles have funded SAR initiatives. One piece of this that we want to make clear is that $ 1.00 of every registration of a boat, snowmobile, and off-highway recreational vehicles is what has funded SAR and any shortfall was made up by utilizing other fish and games user fees that are suppose to be targeting other F&G activities. The $200,000 that you are speaking about only makes up the difference between the direct tariffs presently charged and the so-called deficit. The actual amount of money that should come out of the general fund is closer to $ 375,000 as the direct $1.00 tariff on boat, snowmobile, and off-highway recreational vehicles should be abolished and those funds released by F&G for activities that enhance their recreational pursuits such as trail development, maintenance, and grooming. This would level the playing field and make it fair for all potential users of SAR.
We would also like to send you some other information but this method of communications limits that ability. Maybe some sort of other email link could be provided. Thank you and we look forward to working with you on the imitative along with others.
President, North Country OHRV Coalition