View Full Version : Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card

01-31-2011, 11:03 AM
I just read about the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card at https://www.dola.state.co.us/dlg/fa/sar/sar_purchase.html (you may get browser warnings about the site, I did, but it is the state site)

Anyone have experience with these?

Its been mentioned in a few RS threads, but saw no full explanation. I always thought you had to go out and buy a hunting and fishing license, which I have not. The CORSAR card is $12.00 for 5 years. You can get it online. Here is what the website says:

Why Buy a CORSAR Card?
Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. Funds remaining at the end of the year are used to help pay for training and equipment for these teams. Anyone with a current hunting/fishing license, or boat, snowmobile, ATV registration is already covered by the fund.

The CORSAR Card Is Not Insurance
The card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.

Purchase Card
The CORSAR cards are available for $3 for one year and $12 for five years, and can be purchased at over 300 retailers in the state. You may also purchase cards online. Please visit one of these links:

1. Purchase Card Online With Credit Card
2. Purchase Card From a Vendor - List of Vendors

For the cost of the card, you have helped ensure that trained and well equipped search and rescue teams will respond should you become lost or in need of rescue. Furthermore, volunteers will not have to incur undue expense due to your emergency.

Detailed FAQ at https://www.dola.state.co.us/dlg/fa/sar/index.html

01-31-2011, 11:07 AM
From the Annual Report:
CORSAR Card Program
The fund was initially established in recognition of the impacts hunters and other sportsmen have on small, underfunded,
sheriffs' departments. Often counties with the fewest resources are the location of extensive hunting activity.
Severe weather during big game season often results in significant demand for SAR services, hence the surcharge on
hunting and fishing licenses. In recent years, however, more hikers, mountain bikers, rock and ice climbers, crosscountry
skiers, kayakers, and other non-sportsmen (both residents and visitors alike) have discovered Colorado's
backcountry. The CORSAR card program, initiated in 2002, is an attempt to create equity between sportsmen and
other users of the backcountry in funding search and rescue.
The CORSAR card program is the voluntary mechanism for hikers, mountain
bikers, climbers, kayakers, and other non-sportsmen to participate in the fund. A
one-year CORSAR card costs the buyer $3.00, places $2.00 in the SAR fund and
pays $1.00 to the vendor. A five-year CORSAR card costs $12.00, with $9.00
going in to the SAR fund and paying $3.00 to the vendor. In 2010, CORSAR
sales generated $62,601 in revenue. This represents an increase compared to
2009. Five-year card sales now represent approximately 42% of all cards sold,
which is an increase of 4% over the previous year and a 9% increase since 2008.
Despite mostly slow sales increases, CORSAR card sales remain a significant
proportion of total revenues. In years 1996 through 2001, less than one percent
of total revenues came from the sale of hiking certificates. In 2002, the first year of the CORSAR card, 4.1% of
revenues came from voluntary purchases. In 2010 CORSAR card sales represented 15% of revenue. The revenue
generated from CORSAR card sales has become a significant contribution toward the total fund balance.
CORSAR card internet sales have increased substantially since becoming available in 2006. In FY2006 internet sales
accounted for 357 cards sold. In FY2007 internet sales accounted for 1,394 cards sold (466-one year cards and 928-
five year cards). In FY2008 the state internet portal took over internet sales, and the access was quicker and easier to
use. The data goes directly into our database which reduces the data entry required and improves the efficiency of our
system. In FY2010 internet sales accounted for 3,122 cards. This represents a 20% increase over last year. Out of
state buyers represented nearly 34% of internet sales in FY2010.

01-31-2011, 12:28 PM
Sounds like it would be a worthy investment if you go into the back country.

01-31-2011, 12:54 PM
Thanks Daniel! I always thought I had to get a fishing license too!

01-31-2011, 01:27 PM
I don't see any reason not to spend the couple dollars it costs and got mine a while back. One of those "hope I never need it" things.

01-31-2011, 01:29 PM
We've been getting COSAR cards for many years now mainly since we do a lot of backcountry travel skiing and riding and what-not. If you do hut trips they are a good idea, too.

Be aware that they are NOT insurance cards. They do not cover medical nor helicopter extraction if you are hurt. That is your health insurance.

The card money goes into a fund to reimburse (generally) county sheriffs and S&R group for the call-out to cover their cost to find your sorry butt. If you don't pay into the COSAR fund then these groups can bill and sue you directly for their cost. If that means a helicopter or wide area search that could be major money.

IIRC it's $12 for a 5 year card. You can get them most outdoor places, sporting goods, REI, etc. AFAIK if you get a hunting or fishing license you are also paying into the fund, the COSAR card is for those who don't get them but still spend time in the backcountry.

01-31-2011, 02:04 PM
IIRC it's $12 for a 5 year card.
yes, details are posted above.

You can get them most outdoor places, sporting goods, REI, etc.
locations listed online, where you can also buy the card with a few clicks and they e-mail you a PDF to print.

AFAIK if you get a hunting or fishing license you are also paying into the fund, the COSAR card is for those who don't get them but still spend time in the backcountry.

Annual report says that four wheeling was 17% of the use last year. Fund took in $450,000 (COSAR card was $65k of that and growing a lot since it is now available online) and spent $95,000 K on S&R. Remainder goes to fund training and equipping local agencies.