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Man fined and banned from Zion National Park after BASE jumping

Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 23:20:49-04

ZION NATIONAL PARK — A local man was fined $5,000 and banned from Zion National Park for two years after being caught BASE jumping within the Park on March 28.

Marshall Miller, who is a professional athlete specializing in BASE (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth) jumping, skydiving and other aerial recreational sports, was apprehended after jumping from Great White Throne.

“It’s about twice as tall as the empire state building, it’s a beautiful iconic feature in the park so naturally we have our eyes kind of looking towards the sky and see a beautiful thing like that we’re drawn to it,” Miller said to FOX 13. “Listen, a lot of people look at this stuff as an adrenaline junkie sport or someone that has a death wish, and that’s exactly opposite from what it is.”

According to Zion National Park, Miller was also a person of interest in a BASE jumping incident that took place during the Government Shutdown in January of 2018.

“So here’s someone who deliberately times when the parks themselves are most vulnerable,” said Cory MacNulty, Associate Director for the Southwest Region of the National Parks Conservation Association. “He chose not only to go to a park and jump illegally during a pandemic, but also confessed to doing the same thing during government shutdown in early 2018.”

Miller has jumped over 5,000 times across the world.

“I don’t have remorse for this, and I shouldn’t,” he said. “We would love to take ownership over our community, and for that matter I would love to post a bail towards the park if they could allow this on the backcountry permit usage. We could cover ourselves and police ourselves.”

Zion National Park stated in a release that Miller was charged with violating a climbing closure of the Great White Throne. The climbing routes were closed to all visitors as of March 1, 2020 due to nesting peregrine falcons. Towards the end of Miller’s jump, he landed in an area below Angels Landing which is a known California condor nesting spot. In late 2019, California condor chick #1000 took its first flight from its nest on the cliff below Angels Landing, becoming the first wild-hatched chick to successfully fledge within the park since recovery efforts began in the late 1990’s.

“Rangers are still there and the resources still need to be protected,” said Cory MacNulty regarding the two incidents during both a pandemic and government shutdown. “I would encourage people who want to do this activity or another activity (even flying drones in National Parks is not allowed), to really think about how they’re impacting the resources that those places are there to protect and how are they impacting the experience of other visitors.”

Miller says that he hopes things will change in National Parks in the future, allowing those in the BASE jumping community to jump with a permit. Until then, he understands that Park Rangers and NPS Officers work to uphold the law.

“This is just such an awesome way to experience life and to experience flight that it’s just unfortunate that it’s frowned upon in our National Parks,” said Miller.

Since 2013, the Zion National Park Search and Rescue Team has recovered two bodies related to BASE jumping in the park.

“For a lot of people it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be there so I think we really need to be aware of how we affect other people when they make the choices,” said MacNulty.