Utah taxpayers and volunteers foot the majority of the bill when it comes to finding lost or injured hikers.
When hikers or their family calls 911, help comes from law enforcement, search and rescue teams and medical emergency personnel.
The cost of a search could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the location, the number of searchers, hours involved, the equipment used and whether transportation to a hospital is needed, officials said.
Davis County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team consists of volunteers who either have full-time jobs in businesses outside of law enforcement or run their own business. None get paid for their time to search for a lost person, said Sheriff's Sgt. Susan Poulsen.
The county also does not charge for searches, Poulsen said.
Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, is a member of the Utah County Search and Rescue team. He said all counties in Utah have the authority to charge hikers for searches, but many have opted not to do so. Grand County charges for searches, Valentine said.
A bill came before legislators several years ago that would have made it mandatory for each county to charge for search and rescues, but officials believed it would cause more harm than good -- it could have discouraged residents from seeking help for a lost relative or if they themselves were lost, Valentine said.
Wyoming and Colorado do charge for search and rescue, but also allow residents to pay a nominal fee each year to cover search and rescue charges in case they are lost, Valentine said.
If the Davis County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team did charge, the cost would be $22.14 an hour for one volunteer, which would include the use of the volunteer's equipment, Poulsen said.
A May 27 search for a 56-year-old man who called to say he was lost above Fernwood Canyon resulted in a total of 13 work hours by search and rescue volunteers, Poulsen said. That did not include two sheriff's deputies on scene, plus an ambulance from Layton Fire Department.
Doug Shipley, commander of Davis search and rescue, said the volunteer team members "have pretty understanding bosses," if they get paged to do a search during a workday.
The team also prioritizes so it is "family, job, then search and rescue," Shipley said. Not every search requires all team members, so if someone cannot show up, it is not a problem.
The county provides funding through grants it receives for the large equipment, like trucks, four-wheelers and snowmobiles, as well as books for training and helmets.
But team members pay for a majority of their own personal safety equipment, he said. And depending on the type of equipment and what it is used for, it can get costly because "you can't afford to go cheap."
Even though rescuers get no money for the work, "the payoff is well worth the cost," Shipley said.
Sometimes local agencies will ask the state Department of Public Safety to send out a helicopter.
Capt. Luke Bowman, of the Utah Highway Patrol, which is part of the public safety department, said state agencies are not allowed to bill for services. They receive funding from the Legislature, he said, and it is part of the law enforcement function "to protect, serve and find our residents."
The cost of sending a DPS helicopter to aid in a search can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on where it has to go and how long it is needed, Bowman said.
"But it's well worth the cost. It can do the job of 30 guys on the ground in a lot less time."
The only service lost or injured hikers are usually charged for is the use of an ambulance or helicopter to transport them to a hospital, officials said.
Layton Fire Department spokesman Doug Bitton said the department charges $31.69 per mile if an ambulance transports a person to a hospital.
The worst-case scenario if a person is hurt at Adams Canyon and is transported to Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton? The cost just to transport is $1,369, and that does not include any medical supplies or equipment, Bitton said.
Medical helicopters, such as AirMed and Life Flight, also charge for their services if they are used to transport patients.
Jason Carlton with Intermountain Healthcare said the cost of sending Life Flight to pick up and transport a patient to a hospital varies by call. It all depends on distance traveled, the amount of time in the air and any medical supplies or equipment used.
Craig Bielik with Ogden Regional Medical Center said AirMed is used occasionally to assist in searches. When it is used to search for a lost hiker, there is no charge to the person. The charge comes when the hiker is transported for medical reasons.