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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, March 08, 2013

Should Point of the Mountain Be Preserved For Hang Gliding/Paragliding?

The air currents at Point of the Mountain, between Salt Lake City and Provo, are ideal for hang gliding
and paragliding. So perfect that “The Point” is known to gliding enthusiasts from around the world. People come from all over to ride the air waves.

Some of the land there has been designated Flight Park State Recreation Area. It is jointly managed by Utah State Parks and the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.

The ridge in that area has unique characteristic making it an exceptional spot. In the morning, as the sun warms the land, air currents follow the contours and provide the lift needed for great flights. Then in the afternoon, cooling changes the air flows and enthusiasts move to the other side of the ridge. People can launch and fly from either direction.

White the land on top of the ridge is reserved for the sport, areas around the base are not and are subject to development. Large sand and gravel pits are located in the area and continually push into the ridge.

Now gliding enthusiasts are concerned that enlarging the gravel operations will change the land contours, which will alter the air flow and destroy the prime updrafts.

KSL.com has this interesting news report about the issue. Below are excerpts.

The Point of the Mountain has been excavated for freeways and construction for the past couple decades, leaving large gravel pits and mounds. Many paragliders have used the mountains for paragliding, and it's become a common sight to see them floating in the sky at the Point of the Mountain.

However, Geneva Rock has started expanding its mining operation and has begun excavating a slope of the mountain. Many paragliders are afraid the construction will change the wind flow.

Paraglider pilot Milly Wallace explained that the wind will follow the path of the hill.

"That is where we are catching our lift, is right there," she said. "Anything that disturbs that is going to change the flow of that wind."

However, Geneva Rock owns the rights to the land at the Point of the Mountain to use for excavation. Spokesman Jake White said that Geneva Rock supports the paragliders and even traded some of its property so the south paragliding park could be built a few years prior.

The gliders say they appreciate Geneva Rock's cooperation in the past and they know the company has the legal right to expand its pit. They hope to work out some kind of arrangement to have the expansion go a different direction to preserve the air flow.

We encourage the public to learn about this issue and voice opinions.

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