Friday Oct 28 2011
A Bridge Day at Foresthill Bridge for BASE jumpers?
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
West Virginia event allows hundreds to legally leap and 100,000 show up to watch
Auburn Foresthill Bridge near Auburn gained more notoriety this month when a late-night BASE jumper from the 730-foot-high span became entangled in a tree branch 60 feet in the air. The Placer County Sheriff’s helicopter rescue ended with the parachutist being taken away by patrol car. Jumping off the bridge – except with a permit for film-making purposes – is against the law. The jumper was cited and faces repaying the $2,000 cost for the helicopter rescue. The Journal’s question: What are your thoughts on the idea of allowing legal base-jumping off the bridge one day a year if participants pay and sign a waiver to prevent a costly lawsuit if they are injured or killed? Bridge Day at the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia has been taking place for several years, drawing visitors and helping the local economy. This year’s event on Oct. 15 drew 400 BASE jumpers and 100,000 visitors, organizers said. Calvin Peterson, Antelope “I work with the Union Pacific Railroad and we always think ‘safety first.’ If it’s sanctioned and safety measures are in place, I wouldn’t have any heartburn with it, if it’s all done legally.” David Hoff, Rancho Cordova “I’ve see “xXx,” (a film starring Vin Diesel that included a Corvette being driven off the bridge). Wasn’t it in that movie? If they do the proper precautions, I think they should. It’s a nice height (for BASE jumping). I don’t think it would be risky for people who are experienced at doing it. If they’re qualified and experienced, I think they should be able to do it.” Nancy Enefer, Meadow Vista “I’ve never even thought about that but I know people like to do that type of thing. Does it open up the county or other governments to liability? For adventurous people, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. They’d certainly want to know what they’re doing before getting involved.” John Nightingale, Auburn “They could make money at it and it would go to the county. They could charge $500 a jump and that would attract all the pros. They’d be lining up to do it. I’d let the liberals jump for nothing and even pack their chutes for them.” Beverly Lewis, director of the Placer County Lake Tahoe Film Office “There’s a film ordinance in place that allows stunts at the bridge if the permit is used for commercial filming, TV or movies. That’s the only legal jumping allowed at the bridge. Allowing jumps (for an event such as a Bridge Day) would require a new ordinance at a minimum. And it wouldn’t just be a question of the county allowing it. State Parks is responsible for the area and the Bureau of Reclamation owns the land below.”