I spent the weekend at the 17th Annual Cook County Emergency Services Conference in Grand Marais. Both Mike and I are First Responders and along with Don, our Outfitting Manager, are members of the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. Living an hour from the nearest hospital and just minutes from a wilderness area make our job very important. Over the years we have had experience in all sorts of emergencies including wildfires, hypothermia victims, sauna fires, car accidents, heart attacks, search & rescue missions, broken legs, and much more. Sometimes we find ourselves searching a wilderness lake by the light of the moon, or carrying a person over a rocky portage, and at times we put our own lives in danger to help others. Sometimes the people who are in trouble are only in trouble because they were acting in a less than careful manner or maybe were even breaking a law, but we are still there to help them. I came across this interesting article that made me think about things I do, like hiking alone, that could jeopardize someone else’s safety is something were to happen to me. Just something for you to think about as you start out the new month of May.
Maybe people who ski out of bounds, canoe without life jackets, jump into rivers, ignore avalanche warnings or recklessly ride their snowmobiles into the backcountry should pay the tab for flouting rules instead of asking taxpayers to foot the bill, some argued.
“It doesn’t seem right that they can thumb their noses at the rules, and then put you guys at risk,” said one speaker. “It’s rude. It’s not right.”