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A story from a paper in Missoula says national park rangers are hunting a BASE jumper.  Good luck finding the guy.  He’s probably a thousand miles away from his next challenge.  BASE jumping is illegal in national parks and just about everywhere else.  The Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls is one of the few places around the world where you can leap without fear of arrest.  It doesn’t mean it’s always safe.  A few years ago there was a horrific death as a man accidentally torched himself and his chute and hit the river below like a load of concrete.

Moving a few hundred feet from the bridge and attempting a jump is illegal.  Two summers ago, I was in the water with Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Deputies as they searched for the remains of a young man who leaped from the canyon wall.  He surfaced a week later.  The cost of the response is shouldered by local taxpayers, whether it be a rescue or a recovery operation.

Legal jumpers do bring in tourist dollars.  They eat in local restaurants and some do overnights in local hotels.  The bridge is generally safer than a mountain or glacier, however.  I’ve seen pictures of people dangling from the metal works after their chute got caught as they leaped.  Rescue teams put their own lives in danger as they grapple and bring these people to safety.

I understand there are adrenaline junkies and people with extreme risk tolerance.  They’re also selfish.  Killing or maiming yourself is one thing.  Putting the lives of first responders in jeopardy shows a depraved indifference to the lives of others.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.