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Adventure Company Planning First-Ever Skydive Over America's Tallest Mountain: Jumpers Still Need a Place to LandAn international adventure company is planning the first-ever skydive over Alaska's Mt McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. The company is hoping the National Parks Service will give jumpers permission to land near the mountain.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - Incredible Adventures, the Florida-based adventure company best known for its fighter jet flights and great white shark dives, is now offering the chance to be one of the first to see the top of America's tallest mountain from a parachute. The company is working with a group of military-trained skydiving professionals to offer the first high-altitude skydive over Alaska's Mt McKinley. At 20,320 ft tall, Mt McKinley is one of the tallest mountains in the world.
Where skydivers will jump is known, but where they will land is still up in the air. Because Mt McKinley lies within Alaska's Denali National Park, a permit from the National Parks Service is required for jumpers to be allowed to land on a nearby glacier within the park's borders. Regulations introduced in the 1960's, to prevent squatters and others in national parks from being supplied by air, prohibit air delivery in a National Park without a permit.
The company's initial permit application was denied by the Superintendent of Denali Park. Incredible Adventures has now appealed the decision to Alaska's Regional Park Director and is awaiting the results of that appeal.
No permit is required to jump over the park, so the first-ever Mt McKinley skydive will happen regardless of the verdict. However, if the National Park Service will not issue a permit for jumpers to land within the park, skydiving instructors in charge of jump operations say the difficulty of the jump will increase greatly. Skydivers will be required to wear special extended-range parachutes and endure frigid temperatures in order to make the long canopy ride from above Mt McKinley to an approved landing spot outside the park's border.
"We're hopeful the Park Service will come to realize that we're really only asking for permission to walk across a small section of the park, just like other park visitors do every day," said Incredible Adventures president Jane Reifert. "The only difference between our jumpers and other park visitors is that we'll be arriving by parachute instead of by bus or air taxi. We're a little surprised that getting a permit has proven this difficult."
The president of Incredible Adventures believes the jump will serve a purpose beyond providing an incredible view for participants and a new entry for skydiving record books. "It's amazing how many Americans don't know where Mt McKinley is, or that McKinley is one of the world's tallest mountains. I had never heard of Denali National Park until we started planning this jump. Hopefully park officials will see this as a great chance to get publicity for the park and put Mt McKinley back in the minds of Americans."
No skydiving experience is necessary to be part June's history-making skydive. All jumps will be performed tandem and under the control of the same highly trained and certified skydiving professionals called upon to train NATO forces in military freefall.
The cost is $25,000 and includes all jump training and equipment rental plus lodging in Alaska. Only a few spots remain. For more information, contact Incredible Adventures at 800-644-7382 or visit the company's website, www.incredible-adventures.com.
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