A petition has been started on Change.org, gathering signatures to remove BASE jumping from the U.S. National Park Illegal Aerial Delivery Law.
The Illegal Aerial Delivery law was written in 1965 and originally put in place in order to prevent the resupplying of squatters in the National Parks, via parachute. It has since been applied to any form of parachuting activity. Technically, it is possible bypass this law and apply for a special use permit for BASE jumping, but those permits are never granted. At one time, BASE jumping was time considered for a limited approval under a special use permit, but was banned again following a protest demonstration jump in October 1999, where one of the jumpers (Jan Davis) died.
On the surface this petition may seem like it is just to get BASE jumpers access to National Parks, so they can do some sweet jumps. But the bigger picture involves safety. Being able to jump legally, permits in place, would allow the jumpers to prepare for the jump using their equipment without the worries of it being confiscated by park rangers. That concern very likely played a part in Jan’s death back in 1999 – jumping borrowed gear so that her own would not be taken away.
It would also allow jumpers to arrange their jumps around ideal times and conditions rather than having to sneak around at dusk or dawn, trying to avoid capture. A great article by the Guardian.com touches on that topic, in particular exploring the recent deaths of Dean Potter and Graham Hunt.
This is a topic of interest and emotion for many current and future BASE jumpers. If you’d like to participate, please visit the petition page for more information.