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Teen Hiker Missing on Mount Washington

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Yah, RememberSchiff, those were da two AMC lists I referred to. What exactly do yeh think the lad was missing from them (besides sunscreen ;))? Close as I can tell, he had everything recommended for a day hike and then some.


And it's true that chilblains do look like frostbite, eh? But both look nuthin' like that. If yeh haven't seen such stuff "live", yeh should be able to find photos online.


In actual fact, the lad when he got home sent the $1000 along with his family immediately as a thank-you. It was da total of his personal savings, according to reports. It was only after the state tried to charge him $25K after that that he "lawyered up". To my mind, that shows da character of an Eagle Scout. He was under no obligation to send da rescue agency a donation like that.


For the state to then bill him afterward shows all the care and judgment of a bunch of bureaucratic twads. And "lawyering up" is exactly what he and his family needed to do. In a free country, it is the laws and the lawyers who protect citizens from the arbitrary and capricious acts of the state.


Those involved at F&G and the AG's office should be fired, IMNSHO. Professionals should be held accountable for poor judgment, far more than kids. Their efforts to collect cost da state and the agency at least 5 figures in time and legal services. And cost da state ten times that in reputation.






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Huh? Mason had two months to man-up before the fine was imposed.


April 28 - Mason was rescued. He was praised for using his scout skills sleeping in the crevice of a boulder and jump-starting fires with hand sanitizer gel to get himself through his self-inflicted predicament.


Early May, after Fish and Game had interviewed those involved, these statements were released (Nashua Telegraph, Washington Post):


Mason was negligent in continuing up the mountain with an injury and veering off the marked path, Fish and Game Major Acerno said. Negligence, he said, is based on judging what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.


"When I twist my ankle, I turn around and come down. He kept going up," Acerno said.


"It was his negligence that led to him getting into that predicament," he said. "Once he was in that predicament, yes, that's what we praise him for he used his Boy Scout skills, and that's why he's still alive."


Mason had crampons, snow shoes and an ice pick with him, but did not bring overnight gear since he was planning a day hike. He discussed his itinerary with a supervisor at the Pinkham Notch Lodge before setting out. His mother, Jory Mason, called the lodge when she did not hear from her son that night.


Acerno said Scott Masons negligence began with his itinerary. After he injured himself, Acerno said Mason made the decision to get off the trail to find a faster way back to the lodge.


He was not staying on the trail, Acerno said. Our volunteers ran the trails of his itinerary but he began bushwhacking and navigating through places he should not have during the spring. He took an undesirable route, crossed streams that are swollen in the spring, and tried to make his way out rather than turning around on the trail and hiking out that way.


We looked at everything and in the departments opinion he was negligent in totality.




High rescue costs are being reported which will over-strain Fish & Game's rescue budget. It was clear that Mason donating his $1000 savings and walking away was not a mutually agreeable solution. My opinion, he should have stepped up in May and stated something to the effect 'I cannot begin to repay the costs but maybe there is another way I can pay back you folks'. I would not be surprised if Fish & Game would come up with some options. Maybe work on their Hike-safe program (started in 2003) or do maintenance at the state parks on the endangered list. But Mason did not, maybe he was hoping this 25K problem would go away. Two months!


July 11, Mason family receives $25K bill. Time to lawyer-up.


Now if NH Fish & Game & the NH Attorney General were the twards or whatever being insinuated, then Mason would have lost his Massachusetts drivers license followed by a lien on his family's home, and they sure could have made his college application process difficult too, but NH did not do anything like that. All that happened was these lawyers from Mass drove up periodically and talked and maybe looked at our autumn leaves. After Oct, there was hardly any news about this matter.


In a letter sent April 8 to Masons legal counsel, New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney and New Hampshire Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau wrote: We hope that the publicity about his experience has served as an important teaching moment to others considering hiking in the White Mountains, so they might know that the dangers and risks of doing so should never be underestimated.


I doubt NH Fish & Game ever intended to make this young man pay up. I think Fish & Game wanted to teach a lesson and reduce the number of hiking emergencies that were straining the Fish & Game rescue budget. NH turned a negative situation around into a positive, the Mason family hired lawyers.


My last $0.02,



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He was blocked by melting snow turning trails into waterways and the top of the mountain was closer to where he was. At the top of the mountain is a road, observatory, and people. Sounds like a good place to get rescued to me. He is a great kid(man), I met him at NYLT. Why do we get so hung up the negatives while forgetting the positives

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The NH Fish and Game Department spends millions each year on hundreds of rescues. Our state, like all states, is broke. We also do not pay any State income or sales taxes, but do enjoy high property, meal, and gas taxes. Our fire departments do not generally charge for fire response BUT you may be assessed a fine if your fire was caused by carlessness or by not following the rules on your fire permit. Ambulances charge everywhere. The Scout, and most every other hiker who finds themselves "knee-deep in it" basically fail to follow common sense. At about 1.5 million residents, NH can no longer afford to spend it's limited resources on S&R missions. Gone too are the days of volunteer efforts. The Mount Washington Valley is a very beautiful place, it's why I live here. But we who live here know better than to go traipsing around the Whites in winter ill-prepared. Heck, I don't like to stand outside when it's time for the dogs to do their business in January because if it's 5 below down here, it's 40 below up there. I can see Mt. Washington from my house, and when I look up, I see tragedy as well as the majesty of it all. If you have never read "Not Without Peril" by Nicholas Howe, pick it up. Your heart will be broken by the end, and you will also notice not many locals have died there- except in a rescue attempt.

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Most of the folks that get caught in the rip-currents off our shores are not locals either. Mostly from Arizona or other bordering states... CA is definitely in the worst finacial shape of any.


Guess we should quit wading out in the water to save those out-staters who come visit and swim unprepared beyond their limits?

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Yah, I have to admit that I find the discussion here (and in some of da NH blogs) to be discouraging examples of "citizenship." I suppose I'm just an old fashioned critter from a bygone day, but I still believe that our individual and collective duty is to help those in need, especially the guests that come to visit our lands.


If yeh come to my state, or any state in the Central Region, we will live up to those ideas and standards. We behave with such kindness and generosity to others because it's part of who we are and what we believe in. To help other people at all times.


But, if for you as a citizen all that matters is enlightened self-interest, then consider this: in da White Mountains and the Presidential Range, there ain't a whole lot by way of manufacturing. Da high meal and gas taxes, and the property tax revenues, and da other wealth that supports the local economy largely comes from out of state tourists like this boy and others. The only reason folks can afford to live in da Presidential Range is because outsiders of all sorts come to hike there - and bring their wallets with them. To then gripe and moan when they occasionally get caught by weather (when you have a house nearby but they don't) doesn't make a lot of sense.


Let me also offer my unvarnished opinion that Mr. Acerno has no idea da meaning of the word "negligence" in a legal context. The state backed out of the complaint because they would have (or at least should have) lost. From all I can read, all he's doin' is Monday-morning quarterbacking. I and others could do the same thing to F&G's SAR response, eh? Resource delays, improperly laid search patterns that required personnel to cross hazardous terrain, lack of inter-agency coordination. A negligence charge against F&G would be easier to sustain. Do unto others, eh?


But I have a question for yeh. There were dozens of other hikers and such out at the same time on similar itineraries according to the reports. In fact, there are a range of backcountry touring folks who do routes longer than this lad considered in the deep winter. Is NH F&G goin' to "man up" and start turning away all of those hunters who go solo for a stretch off-trail to their favorite spots - all of da Mt. Washington skiers and climbers and snowshoers? After all, if that's truly "negligent" yeh shouldn't allow any of it. Give refunds on their tags. Send 'em to Vermont and Maine and the Adirondacks.


I expect instead you'll take their hotel fees and permit fees and meals and other tourist dollars and not say a word. Then like every modern patriot wrap yourself in self-righteous indignation when they ask for your help.


If da state is havin' financial difficulties, man up yourselves and vote in a tax to pay for the services you want or need. Or step up and volunteer. Don't complain about 17-year-olds who make free-will donations of their life's savings, eh? Just makes yeh look like da backside of a black-and-white-spotted resident of a neighboring state.


One thing's for sure, Scoutin' is sure needed in New Hampshire. The next generation needs to learn about the duties and responsibilities of citizenship that da current generation isn't demonstrating.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I am not sure how to take your most recent post Beav, but for a different angle on things, look at Weingarten v. United States of America. Mr. Weingartens daughter was killed May 1, 1994 while skiing at Tuckermans. He sued the USFS for causing her death from negligence. No, there is no sustainable industry here other than tourism, they have all shut down as big business decided to have the Chinese make all our goods for less than a living wage.

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