ELKO – The U.S. Forest Service is discouraging BASE jumpers from using Lamoille Canyon following this week’s report of a second fatality.
“Although this activity is not prohibited on National Forest System lands, the Forest will be looking into the safety aspect and we want to encourage members of the public to find safer and more suitable locations for this type of activity,” said District Ranger Josh Nicholes. “Two deaths at the same jump spot in less than four months are two too many.”
Rich Martinez, the District’s fire prevention technician and a former smokejumper, explained that Lamoille Canyon is becoming a popular wingsuit jumping location due to its rocky peaks, but the unpredictable weather and short distance to maneuver makes it a difficult place to jump.
“I understand the thrill and adrenaline rush of the sport, but I cannot stress enough that wingsuit base jumpers need to be aware of their skill level, and double and triple check their equipment and environmental conditions to ensure a safe jump,” said Martinez.
He added that jumpers also need to respect other forest users, who could be adversely affected due to landing spots on and around roads, campgrounds and recreational residences.
David W. Wessels, 38, of Las Vegas died Tuesday after jumping from a cliff near the Thomas Canyon Campground. Daniel J. Ristow, 24, of California died June 12 in the same location.