One of the best things about living in Colorado is the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. But outdoor recreation comes with risks, whether it be from injury, bad weather, avalanches, becoming disoriented, or not being properly prepared. Colorado has search and rescue teams that are ready to help in times of emergency – but what you may not realize is that many search and rescue (SAR) teams in Colorado are comprised of volunteers. And with more and more people moving to Colorado and visiting the outdoors, rescue operations are becoming more frequent.
SAR teams need equipment, which can be costly. But since these teams are staffed by volunteers, where does the money for equipment come from? The Colorado Department of Local Affairs operates a Search and Rescue Fund to reimburse SAR teams for costs incurred during SAR operations. You can help fund these SAR teams by purchasing a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card.
How does a CORSAR card work? First of all, it should be noted that SAR teams will assist anyone in need, regardless of whether they have a CORSAR card. The card does not provide the bearer with any special privileges, nor does it cover the cost of medical transport, if that is required. Rather, the CORSAR card is a way of giving back, or saying “thank you” to the SAR teams that came to your aid. Because if you have a card and a SAR team is sent to assist you, the SAR team is eligible for immediate reimbursement for costs incurred during the mission. If the person being rescued does not have a card, the team has to wait until the end of the year for reimbursement, and may only be reimbursed if money is available.
CORSAR cards can be purchased online for just $3 for a one-year card, or $12 for a five-year card. Learn more about Colorado’s Search and Rescue Fund and the CORSAR card on the program’s website, or, for more detailed financial information, view their annual reports.