Peril on the Trails: NJ Hiker to be Billed, Dover Woman Rescued
A Dover woman was rescued Sunday after she slipped and slid about 15 feet down a hiking trail in the White Mountains.
NH Fish and Game said that Laura Chandler, 52, injured her leg in the fall on the Fishing Jimmy Trail in Lincoln just over two miles from the trailhead, and could not hike without assistance.
Volunteers arrived to her location around 2:45 p.m., but because of icy conditions it took just over an hour to stabilize the injury and secure Chandler for the trip back to the Lafayette Campground where the trail begins. She was taken to Littleton Regional Hospital for treatment and evaluation of her injury.
If you're going to go hiking in the White Mountains, you'd best be prepared for or face a bill for your rescue.
Chandler was well prepared and carried all the necessary equipment for a winter hike, including traction devices that are a necessary piece of equipment this time of year.
A Different Lesson For a New Jersey Woman
A New Jersey woman who was less prepared will likely be charged for the cost of a rescue crew that helped her down a trail in the White Mountains late Sunday afternoon.
Aleeza Shaikh, 26, of Jersey City was hiking with a friend on the Liberty Springs Trail in the Franconia Notch state park when she became "distressed" and unable to complete the hike around 5:20 p.m. according to NH Fish & Game.
Another group of hikers found Shaikh laying on the trail and helped Shaikh continue the trip along the trail.
A NH Fish & Game conservation officer and a small rescue party from the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue met the group on the trail just before 6 p.m. and accompanied them to the parking lot. They arrived without any problems by 7 p.m.
Shaikh was prepared for a day hike, but did not have gear to spend the night.
"Due to inaccurate planning and equipment of the hiker, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will be recommending that Shaikh be billed for this preventable rescue," the agency said in a statement.
Prepare for your outdoor adventure
NH Fish & Game Lt. Bob Mancini did not know how much Shaikh would be billed. He said the amount was based on a number of factors including the amount of personnel involved, how long the rescue took, and what equipment was needed.
"These particular situations that could be prevented...we are fair and consistent in how we decided when to bill and when not to bill, and if people have made negligent or reckless choices that have resulted in a rescue, then they get charged for the cost of the rescue," Lt. Bob Mancini of NH Fish & Game told Seacoast Current.
Fish & Game responds to nearly 200 rescues a year, according to Mancini.
Shaikh could have purchased a Hike Safe Card priced at $25 per person and $35 per family, which protects the purchaser from any liability to repay rescue costs unless negligence is determined to have been involved.
"People that come to the state of New Hampshire and buy Hike Safe Cards and are prepared and take measures to self rescue, you don't get billed," Mancini said. "Somebody is ill-equipped, doesn't have head lamps, doesn't have a map, doesn't know where they are and needs assistance down the mountain after dark? That's always going to be billed."
NH Fish and Game is funded by fishing & hunting licenses and federal funds. It does not receive state funding.
Hiking the White Mountains can be "extremely challenging" and quickly become dangerous, especially in winter.
"People often underestimate the time required to complete a mountain hike in snowy and icy conditions. It is also easy to be deceived by trail distances, as hiking four miles on flat ground does not require nearly as much energy as hiking four miles in steep terrain," the agency said on its website.