March 25, 2013


Judge Upholds Ban on Grand Canyon Mining

Mining consortium foiled again

The Grand Canyon is safe once again after a federal judge rejected an effort to overturn the Obama administration’s moratorium on new mining claims around the national park. The ban, enacted in January of 2012, currently protects the 1 million acres of land that comprise the canyon’s watershed.

Last year, members of the uranium mining industry, including the National Mining Association, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and the Northwest Mining Association, joined forces to attempt to overturn the ban, claiming that it was unconstitutional for the Interior Department to withdraw parcels of land larger than 5,000 acres from use. The motion was denied last week by U.S. District Judge David Campbell.

“It’s a great day for the Grand Canyon, and for rivers, wildlife, and communities across the West,” said Ted Zukoski of Earthjustice. “The uranium industry was hoping to cripple the Interior Department’s ability to temporarily protect lands from destructive mining. Today’s opinion upholds the Interior Department’s authority to take such protective measures.”


Utah's Corona Arch     Photo: Sharon Seaward

Man Dies On 'World's Largest Rope Swing' in Corona Arch

Swinging from Utah landmark popularized on YouTube

The Associated Press is reporting that a 22-year-old man has died from injuries sustained after miscalculating a rope swing at Utah's Corona Arch. Kyle Lee Stocking overestimated the length of rope necessary to swing through the opening of the 140-foot sandstone feature, crashing into its base.

Swinging from the arch was made popular by the YouTube video "World's Largest Rope Swing," which has garnered over 17 million pageviews.

The activity became so popular that authorities recently banned commercial jumps.

In 2012, we published an Outside reader's staggering photo of amateur jumpers on the arch: "The stunt was impressive but a little frightening—even for photographer Sharn Seaward, who has skydived. 'Watching them gave me no desire to try it,' she says."

No word as to whether the death will affect private jumpers, but the Washington Post reports that the Utah Trust Lands Administration indicated it can't enact an outright ban on the activity. It has posted a sign warning of possible “severe injury or death even if your equipment works.”


Greg Long surfs Mavericks     Photo: Jeff Smith/Shutterstock

Greg Long Wins Big Wave World Tour

Reaches podium in six events

Surfer Greg Long won the fourth edition of the Big Wave World Tour this week, locking up the title after the final event in the series was canceled due to a lack of waves. While he didn't win any of the events, Long dominated the overall competition, finishing on the podium in six out of the seven events.

The victory is especially sweet for Long, as it follows a near-death incident for the surfer. In late 2012, Long almost drowned after being held down by three waves at Cortes Bank (read more here).

Check out "Swell Guy," Matt Warshaw's profile of Greg Long from our August 2011 issue.


Foxcopter aerial drone

Foxcopter aerial drone     Photo: FOX Sports via YouTube

Aerial Drone to Film Surf Event

Offers livestream coverage

Surfer Joel Parkinson may want to think twice about flipping another surfer the bird during the Bells Beach, Australia, ASP event this week, especially if he hears the not-so-faint buzz of a flying weedwhacker overhead. In the finals of the first ASP event of 2013, a photographer caught Parkinson offering a one finger salute to Kelly Slater as the 11-time champ dropped in on him. This wednesday, FOX Sports' eight-propellor "octocopterwill drop in on surfers to offer online viewers live, up-close, aerial coverage of the 52nd Rip Curl Pro. 

"Never before has a surfing broadcaster been able to provide live vision so close to the heart of the battle,” said FUEL TV's Adam Howarth. “The addition of Foxkopter to FUEL TV’s live Rip Curl Pro broadcast will significantly enhance our coverage providing greater depth and quality of the prestigious surf event.”

It's not the first time the drone has been used to record live footage of a sporting event. Fox Sports used the octocopter to shoot a Big Bash League cricket match in December, 2012. It's also not the first time a drone has been flown above an ASP event. In 2011, an Extreme Aerials quadrocopter was used to record the action at Bells Beach. The FoxKopter is equipped with a 1920 x 1080i HD camera with a stabilised lens, 3D GPS positioning, and 360 degree panning.

For more on the history of drones in adventure filmmaking, check out "How Military Drones Are Changing Adventure Filmmaking," and "Seminal Moments in Drone-Assisted Adventure Filmmaking."