Starting this year, the Yellow Mountains (黄山 Huángshān) in southern Anhui Province will stop providing free rescue services to hikers who enter forbidden areas in the mountain range and get stranded, reports Anhui Daily.
According to a local broadcasting station located in the Huangshan area, for those who sneak into the attraction without tickets and those who enter undeveloped and closed areas, the scenic site will no longer cover rescue fees if they’re called on.
Under the new rules, either the organizers of hiking activities or the rescued themselves will be responsible for the rescue costs.
Statistics collected by the attraction’s administrative committee show that in 2016, about 24 groups of 212 total hikers were caught in mountain zones that were off-limits to visitors.
Huangshan is one of the most popular hiking destinations in China, and it’s also known for hazardous conditions. They include steep stairs and ultra-long routes.
Avid hikers are not discouraged by the difficulties of climbing, but many of them end up in trouble due to sudden illness, physical injury, or shortage of strength.
In the last few years, the site has carried out about 300 rescue missions every year, and roughly 10 of them per year are the result of overconfident hikers who ignore warnings to stay out of closed areas.
The most notable rescue was in 2010, when a team of 18 students from Fudan University went into a restricted zone while climbing Huangshan and got lost. While all of them were rescued, a police officer on the rescue team died when he fell from a cliff during the operation.
In support of the decision, People’s Daily published a brief comment today. “The gravity of life cannot be measured by money. But some people tend to gain satisfaction from breaking rules and joy from taking risks. They not only put themselves in danger, but they also abuse public rescue resources. Furthermore, some put rescuer lives in danger,” the newspaper wrote on its official Weibo account. “Paid rescue services should have come earlier.”