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Bill: Risky backcountry users would pay for rescue

A state lawmaker from Jackson wants authorities to have the right to charge backcountry users who need to be rescued.

The Jackson Hole Daily reported Tuesday that Rep. Keith Gingery is pursuing a bill to give sheriff’s departments discretion to issue bills to people suspected of putting themselves in danger.

The bill was inspired by a rescue of snowmobilers from Togwotee Pass last winter that cost Teton County $14,000.

The Wyoming Search and Rescue Council reimburses counties for such expenses and asked Gingery to get the snowmobilers to cover some of the cost. Gingery, the county’s chief deputy attorney, said the snowmobilers’ lawyer questioned whether the county had that authority.

The council gets its money from donations as well as fees from hunting and fishing licenses and snowmobile registrations.

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