New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
April 30, 2015

Philip B. Bradley, Assistant Attorney General
(603) 271-1269

Supreme Court Affirms Damages Award for Fish and Game Department Rescue

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster announces that today the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed a trial court decision finding Edward Bacon, a Michigan man who acted negligently while hiking the Franconia Ridge Trail in the White Mountains, liable for the cost of his rescue by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. New Hampshire law, RSA 206:26-bb, requires a hiker to pay for the cost of a rescue if the hiker's negligence caused the need for the rescue.

The Supreme Court noted that Mr. Bacon had undergone multiple hip surgeries, had an artificial hip that had dislocated five times including twice in the past year, had trained in a city park that was nowhere near as challenging as the terrain in the White Mountains, had chosen to hike in high winds and heavy rains that had been forecasted, and had chosen to attempt to jump over a rock ledge despite his past hip dislocations. The resulting rescue, in dangerous weather conditions, required 15 Fish and Game officers and 35 volunteer rescuers, and took more than 14 hours to complete, including throughout one night. The Supreme Court upheld the award of $9,186.38 in costs to the Fish and Game Department.

Although this hiker's negligence resulted in a payment to cover the cost of the rescue, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recently created the HikeSafe card program which exempts the holder of a HikeSafe card from liability for a rescue due to the hiker's negligence. The holder of a HikeSafe card would only be liable for the cost of a rescue if the rescue was due to more serious reckless or intentional conduct. The HikeSafe cards can be purchased from the Fish and Game Department, including through its website,

New Hampshire Department of Justice
1 Granite Place South | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658