The following are examples of other areas where BASE jumping is legal (or not illegal), both inside and outside the United States. If you have other examples, or ideas on how to use these examples toward the deregulation of BASE jumping, let us know using the contact button above.
In the US:
Called "the last bastion of outdoor outlaws," by some, federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management is one of the best examples we have in the United States of what minimal regulation can look like. The BLM has done their best to balance the interests of the multitude of everyone who wants to use these outdoor spaces. In addition to BASE jumpers, this includes climbers, hikers, Jeepers, hunters, slackliners, mountain bikers, oil and gas interests, and more.
While I'm sure the BLM would agree that you can't please all the people, all the time, they've done their best to do so. BLM land isn't without restrictions, there have been occasions where they have closed areas for conservation purposes. A semi-recent closure was proposed at the link below. While this is necessary at times to ensure the interests of the wildlife that lives here, we want to make sure these closures are sensible, and not open-ended, blanket closures.
This article, by Outside Online, talks further about the BLM's balancing act in the areas near Moab, Utah.
An annual, one-day celebration in Fayetteville, West Virginia, that commemorates the opening of the New River Gorge Bridge. The festival, established through WV legislation, allows BASE jumping from the 876' bridge. At the end of 2020, legislation was passed to make the New River Gorge a National park. Up until that point, the landing area was still controlled by the NPS as a National River. This highly regulated event includes entry fees, gear inspections, and a controlled exit point, but for such a busy event, it works. Local businesses also love the event for all the extra money it brings in at the tail end of the season.
This 486' bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho, is one of the most popular places to jump in the United States, due in large part to Idaho's laissez faire attitude toward jumping. While the local chamber of commerce doesn’t' keep specific statistics regarding the income generated from BASE jumpers, they say a lot of money is brought to the valley by the hundreds of people from all over the world that come to jump.
The Italian BASE Association (IBA) has worked to put together some "self-regulation" rules for certain sites. Mt Brento, one of the most popular BASE jumping sites in Italy, if not the world, has some specific requirements. In short, they require a minimum of 300 skydives, completion of a reputable BASE First Jump Course, 15 BASE jumps (50 for more difficult exits in the area), and an agreement that you will abide by the local safety guidelines.
The safety guidelines have been developed over time and through lessons learned by more experienced jumpers. Besides the basics of checking in/out with someone in the landing area, and jumping in good weather, there are guidelines about the suggested delay, both slick and with a wingsuit, the safe landing area, etc. There are also tools and information to get safely to the exit point to avoid slip hazards. Violations of the safety guidelines (i.e. low pulls) result in a "Yellow Card," a warning, or a "Red Card," a one-year ban from the BASE service bus. The Italian BASE Association reports that, in 2019, all but one person who received a Yellow Card changed their behavior to stay in compliance. More info can be found on their website, linked above.
The Swiss BASE Association (SBA), who works closely with the IBA, is also self-regulated. They have extensive guidelines about each exit point and their relative difficulty level, in addition to regulated jump times to avoid mid-air collisions with paragliders and the local rescue helicopters. The SBA has worked closely with local farmers in order to establish a safe landing area that is marked with a wind sock. This is done through the mandatory purchase of a landing card by all jumpers. The majority of the 40 Swiss Francs goes to reimburse the farmers who own the land, a small portion also goes toward maintenance of ropes and equipment at the exit points.
Switzerland also mandates the purchase of insurance for all BASE jumpers. A foreigner can get three months of insurance for 45 Francs (about $50 USD). Search and Rescue insurance is also highly recommended by the SBA. Because of the mountainous terrain and jumps that aren't beginner friendly, the 40 Franc SAR insurance is a cheap way to be protected in the event of a very expensive rescue.
The Norwegians have banned BASE jumping from Trollveggen, the tallest vertical rock-face in Europe, due to some complicated rescues in the past. But there are other legal locations in the country, such as Kjerag. To jump at Kjerag, you must have 250 skydives and 15 BASE jumps (extra jumps are required for wingsuits), you must register and have your gear inspected (good condition, no velcro on terminal jumps), and you can only jump when the rescue boat is available. There is also a boat to get you back to town as it's the only way to access the site.
In Kuala Lumpur, a BASE jumping event is held every year at the Petronas Towers, South East Asia's highest buildings. Starting in 1999, the event is a good example of a private collaboration with BASE jumpers to put on a safe event. There are a few prerequisites, such as a at least two years' of BASE experience, and at least 20 jumps in the past twelve months.
Lesson for the NPS
By forcing BASE jumpers to hide in the shadows, it is much more difficult to disseminate safety information. Just like in the early days of rock climbers not following the rules, jumpers are still going to jump. If they were allowed to jump with simple regulation through the implementation of permits and safety guidelines, jumpers could recreate relatively safely, without adding the worry of prosecution to the long list of things that have to be considered for each jump.
Communities near legal sites have benefited from the money brought into the local economy. Additional, legal, sites would not only be safer, they would provide additional income to these rural and micropolitan areas.