HNOLULU (KHON2) — Lawmakers said those ignoring safety signs on hiking trails and land into trouble, should pay up for their emergency rescues. This is a proposal that has failed in the past but lawmakers said it could keep people from acting recklessly on trails.
A proposal by Maui State Senator, Lynn DeCoite is moving in the legislature as a bill looking to fine people for their search and rescue, if they trespass illegal hikes or act dangerously on them.
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“Our first responders as well as the community, they risk their own lives in finding people that decide to go off the trails,” DeCoite said. “And those signs are there for a reason because there could be danger on the other side.”
Signs on popular hiking trails highlight the sanctioned trails and even share information about distance and closing hours; those who ignore those signs are likely to reimburse their search and rescue cost if the proposal passes.
Waikiki resident, Roman Tivyan said he is not bothered by the idea.
Tivyan said, “I wouldn’t disagree with that. If you go off the trail and you know you have to take up resources to get rescued, it’s probably fair if a trail search and rescue aren’t actively patrolling.”
Kristal Gurley is also in favor of the proposal. She is often hiking trails with her family and has noticed more people being careless on hikes, especially to capture a photo for social media.
Gurley said, “There’s a lot of people that kind of abuse it and they go off and they do crazy things, so it would be a good thing.”
There is some opposition to this proposal, however, including from the Honolulu Police Chief, Joe Logan.
Part of the opposing testimony from HPD said, “The HPD opposes this bill as there is no existing mechanism to seek reimbursement for these situations. In addition, it may deter or delay prompt notification of first responder agencies by persons who may need to be rescued.”
DeCoite said a handful of other states have implemented similar proposals.
“We know what the problem is, we have to come up with solutions and we need to do it together.”
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The bill is expected to cross over to the State House. DeCoite hopes this bill has a different fate than other similar proposals that have failed in the past.