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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Accidents prompting possible restrictions on Corona Arch

By Devon Dolan, Deseret News

Published: Thu, June 12 3:00 p.m. MDT

 The Bureau of Land Management is considering a ban on extreme sports at Utah's popular Corona Arch in Moab. It says it's received complaints from people about the extreme sports. Kyle Stocking, 22, died while extreme swinging from the arch in 2013. His parents' say they don't want a ban on extreme activities.

The Bureau of Land Management is considering a ban on extreme sports at Utah's popular Corona Arch in Moab. It says it's received complaints from people about the extreme sports. Kyle Stocking, 22, died while extreme swinging from the arch in 2013. His parents' say they don't want a ban on extreme activities.

(KSL 5 TV)

SOUTHERN UTAH — A few times a week one can see thrill-seekers jumping off Corona Arch. The 250-foot arch has been named by many as the world's largest rope swing. Despite the potential dangers, adventurers say it's worth the risk. Slacklining, highlining, rope swinging and rappelling are allowed on the arch, but two accidents are now prompting possible restrictions.

"The fact that we lost our son is painful, but it's comforting to know we lost our son doing something that he loved," said Mike Stocking, the father of one accident victim.

In 2013, Kyle Stocking lost his life while rope jumping on Corona Arch. Stocking and five friends miscalculated the length of the rope. His parents call it an accident and say it's not reason enough to ban rope jumping. In fact, they think jumpers should continue, but they want commercial outfitters to be there to set up and guide the swing.

"Had that been done for Kyle, he probably would've lived," said Linda Stocking, Kyle Stocking's mother.

The arch recently became federal land in May as part of a land exchange. Since then, the Bureau of Land Management says it's received complaints from people who say they want to marvel at a natural wonder, not visit an extreme sports arena. The bureau is now conducting an environmental study to figure out exactly what its 4,000 yearly visitors want from the park.

If the restrictions are implemented, they would be reconsidered after two years.

"During those two years, it gives us more time to do a more in-depth process," said Rock Smith, Moab BLM field office manager.

The study will wrap up within the next few days, then the bureau will ask for public comment. Mike and Linda Stocking are prepared to speak for their late son.

"If we take away the excitement in life, what is there to live for?" asked Mike Stocking.

Recommended
1. DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
June 12, 2014

Remember all the talk about how "public lands belong to all of us" and they are "a place to go for recreation?"

Well, Big Brother's Bureau of Land Management wants you to know that (a) they are in charge, not you yahoos who live in the sticks instead of Washington, DC with the rest of the really smart people. And, (b) that you are too stupid to understand what receration is good for you, so Big Brother will define it for you. For your own good, mind you.

Remember, the professional "wilderness" advocates insist that other people not be allowed to do what they want to in the great outdoors, but only the politically approved hiking activities where you go worship Mother Gaia in an approved manner.

Short version: Washington objects to all the liberty and freedom taking place among the serfs.

2. Eliot
Genola, UT,
June 12, 2014

The BLM is conducting a study and seeking public input on how to manage the arch. Obviously some want to allow people to use if for swinging and repelling and others prefer that it not be used in that way. Since the arch is on public land it makes sense for the BLM to seek input before deciding how it will be used. This is how sensible people resolve conflicting interests.

3. Linus
Bountiful, UT,
June 12, 2014

I get a little bit tired of reading obituaries declaring that some young person died doing what he/she loved doing. I remember a time when I loved driving fast cars way over a hundred miles per hour. Now how smart was that? Had I killed myself (and maybe others), I doubt my parents would have defended my adventure or announced with satisfaction that I had died doing what I loved doing.

I think it may be time to bring some sanity back to recreation. Thrill seeking for the adrenalin rush is not recreation. It is a dangerous addiction.

4. byronbca
Salt Lake City, UT,
June 12, 2014

I think that the Arch should be off limits to ropes but it has nothing to do with safety.

No one can deny that every time a rope is set up on Corona Arch it does visible damage, not a lot per repel, but it's adding up and the rope scars are clearly visible from the base of the Arch. If you don't believe me go to the arch and look up, you will see multiple gouges about a half an inch wide, up to and inch deep and about 5 feet in length. The rope scars are created when the rope is pulled through after the repel.

Corona Arch is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I think it's worth protecting. There are literally hundreds of other places in Moab where climbers can set up just as spectacular rope swings.

5. SAS
Sandy, UT,
June 13, 2014

No! DN Subscriber said I can do anything I want on public lands! Rope swing? Sure! Homemade explosives testing? Sure! Disco party through the campground at 2AM? Absolutely?

Heaven forbid the Bureau of Land Management actually do its job...

Oh, well, privatization will fix everything.