Grants in Action

In 2023 NHOC provided a $6000 grant to purchase a Mavic 3 Thermal Imaging Drone. This light weight 3 lb. drone, operated by AVSAR’s FAA Drone pilots, allows for an advance team to carry the drone deep into the backcountry and deploy where traditional search methods are dangerous to rescuers or time consuming such as around cliffs and swamps. While this drone has several high-definition cameras and accessories its main payload is a thermal imaging camera which allows a pilot to see a victim’s heat signature even through heavy vegetation day or night. While AVSAR pilots train with this drone weekly it has yet to be deployed on a SAR mission. This tool has the potential to not only reduce injury to rescuers searching through hazardous terrain but also could help save a life where every hour counts.



The White Mountain National Forest Trailhead Steward Program was started in 2013 as a way of helping hikers be better prepared when setting out on their hike. Located at 6 major trailheads and/or on backcountry patrol from May through October the stewards are there to give information on everything from being prepared with the right equipment and hikeSafe principals to weather and trail conditions. The NHOC has supported the program through funding of such things as uniform shirts for the volunteers and equipment for the trailhead information stations. The program has a fairly consistent track record of contacting over 30,000 hikers in a given year and 2019 was no exception. Overall, from May – October trailhead steward volunteers contacted 35,032 hikers of which 3,339 or 10.4% changed plans in some fashion due to volunteer advice.

hikeSafe, along with the Hiker Responsibility Code, was developed as a joint program between the White Mountain National Forest and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to create and develop a Mountain Safety Education Program–the first of its kind–for New Hampshire (and beyond). Launched in 2003, the program is designed to educate those hiking throughout New Hampshire about the steps they must take in order to be prepared before hiking. The NHOC has been a strong supporter of the program from the beginning and has funded education materials, brochures and the creation of a “hikeSafe, It’s Your Responsibility” video.