The Search and Rescue Fund (SAR) was created to:
Dollars for the fund are generated through a $.25 surcharge on hunting licenses, fishing licenses, boat registrations, snowmobile registrations, off-highway vehicle registrations, and by the voluntary sale of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card.
Any eligible agency (public, private, or volunteer association providing specialized search and rescue services and resources) are eligible to receive funding and must be authorized by a county sheriff or political subdivision. C.R.S. 33-1-112.5(3).
A Tiered system to reimburse county sheriffs for search and rescue missions was created as follows:
Tier I: Full reimbursement of costs incurred by completing a search and rescue mission of a person(s) rescued that have paid into the SAR fund through surcharges on hunting and fishing licenses, habitat stamps, registrations of boats, off-highway vehicles, and snowmobiles; and the voluntary purchase of Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card. There is no cost limit for Tier I reimbursements.
Tier II: After paying out of all Tier I missions, then funds are used to reimburse Tier II missions at the end of the State fiscal year. Tier II missions are search and rescues where a person(s) rescued has a relative who paid into the SAR fund. A relative is defined as a parent, sibling, spouse, child, or grandchild of a licensed person. There is a minimum request limit of $150.00 or more in which a Tier II mission request will be paid.
Tier III: After paying out of all Tier I and II missions, then funds are used to reimburse Tier III missions at the end of the State fiscal year. Tier III missions encompass reimbursement of operational expenses incurred on searches for “non-participant” missions for individuals who do not contribute to the fund. There is a minimum request limit of $150.00 or more in which a Tier III mission request will be paid. Before payments are approved on Tier III missions, DOLA staff submits a brief narrative on Tier III missions over $1,500 to the SAR Advisory Council for review at the end-of-year application annual meeting.
End-of-Year Payments: If funds remain following reimbursement of all direct mission expenses, DOLA invites county sheriffs to apply for needed equipment or training. Applications are due by April 1st of each year. The SAR Advisory Council makes funding recommendations to the DOLA Executive Director who makes final funding decisions. Funds are based on a variety of factors and funding ranges from $2,000 to $15,000.