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May 12. 2012 11:13PM

Paying for stupid: NH needs to send the message

We will take the Massachusetts' hiker's word for it that his escapade in the Presidential Range last Tuesday was “the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life.”

And with that, we trust the State of New Hampshire will make an example of the man's stupidity, which put at needless risk the lives and time of his rescuers.

Being a welcoming, tourist-friendly state certainly doesn't mean shutting off or discouraging access to our beautiful outdoors. But it would be equally bad for business if stories of rescues gone awry, rescues that need not have been launched to begin with, dominate the news.

The Cape Cod man waited until 4 p.m. last Monday to begin a hike up Mount Madison, one of the highest in our White Mountains. And he did so in summer clothing and rubber boots.

He brought no food, no flashlight, no jacket.

Fish and Game Sgt. Wayne Saunders assembled a nine-member rescue crew, including other officers, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team members and AMC rescuers. An effort that began before sundown lasted until 4 the next morning.

Sgt. Saunders is recommending the state seek reimbursement for its time and trouble.

Hiker Mark Walsh says he is an unemployed welder, so a financial settlement may not be practical.

We are sure Fish and Game, the AMC, or others could put the services of a welder to good use.

As the weather warms and the mountains beckon, New Hampshire needs to get the message out that there are consequences for one's actions.


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