After over 70 years of dedicated and selfless service to Colorado, the backcountry search and rescue community has chosen to seek a better way. The increased popularity of outdoor recreation, a dramatic influx of new residents, changing technology, and the changing demographics of our mountain communities has led CSAR to proactively engineer a better system for backcountry search and rescue before the current system is unable to provide the expected and outstanding services Colorado deserves. Many partners and stakeholders have had input in this process, and the result is SB21-245, the Backcountry Search and Rescue Bill, currently before the Colorado General Assembly. This bill will lay the foundation, based on data collection and stakeholder meetings, to start to build better structures, better relationships, and better systems. Throughout this process, CSAR and its members will be collaboratively working with federal, state, and local government agencies, along with the outdoor industry and other NGOs, to develop a sustainable SAR system for all of Colorado.
In conjunction with SB21-245, our friends at Colorado Parks and Wildlife have introduced SB21-249, The Keep Colorado Wild Pass bill. This bill creates an option for Colorado residents to purchase a reduced-cost pass to Colorado State Parks when registering a non-commercial vehicle. This method would reduce the current cost of $80 by at least 50%, and potentially all the way down to $20. If the expected increased participation occurs, some of the funds from the Keep Colorado Wild Pass program will go to support backcountry search and rescue (BSAR) and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. This is the first time since 1987 that the State of Colorado is considering supporting backcountry search and rescue in a meaningful way. We greatly appreciate this creative solution to funding BSAR and CAIC.
We ask Colorado citizens, especially those who enjoy our mountains, plains, canyons, lakes, and rivers to help us promote these two bills by reaching out to your legislators and asking for their support. Find your legislator.