Cliff Diving Ban

By: Michael Wooten Email
By: Michael Wooten Email

Local officials are taking unprecedented action to stop accidents before they happen.

For many, taking a plunge into a local lake is a ritual, but cliff jumping and diving can be dangerous and even deadly.

In the Huntington District of the Army Corps of Engineers, which covers much of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, six people have died from cliff jumping since 2005. That doesn’t count the hundreds of injuries.

The corps is cracking down by banning cliff jumping and diving at all of its 19 district lakes, which includes popular spots in our region, such as Grayson Lake and Beech Fork State Park.

“Many don't realize the danger, like hidden debris and jagged rocks,” Marrialana Prince-High from Grayson said.

The penalty for this illegal action is up to $5,000 in fines and even jail time, but the ban doesn't seem to be working.

Opponents said they understand the risks and don't want government getting in the way. Some are brushing off the ban by jumping from trees instead of cliffs.

"Even getting in your car and going to work everyday is a risk, so what's the difference in this?" Brad Sargent from Grayson said.

The Army Corps of Engineers has also banned jumping from trees or anything else that is taller than the jumper's height.

Officials say they will hand out warnings to first-time offenders, but again cliff jumpers can get up to $5,000 in fines and 6 months in jail.

This is the only ban of its kind in the entire country for the Army Corps of Engineers.

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