Author: Deborah

San Luis Obispo County to shut down stunt-fling event

San Luis Obispo County to shut down stunt-fling event

Opponents seek to end a bungee-jumping venue, citing environmental and safety concerns.

A California appeals court on Friday upheld a lower-court ruling requiring the county to shut down its annual festival of stunt-fling, with the exception of the jumping portion.

The San Luis Obispo County Association of Governments filed a notice of appeal Thursday, seeking to overturn an earlier ruling that said county officials had violated the California Environmental Quality Act because they could not ensure the event was “environmentally responsible.”

The association of government agencies representing about 4,200 residents of San Luis Obispo County said it planned to appeal the ruling but offered no timeline for the proceedings.

The association says the county has known about its event since 2002.

But environmentalists contend the event is environmentally dangerous and threatens the safety of the cliffs and waters of one of the state’s most important natural resources.

“The county does have a problem with the environmental risks associated with bungee jumping, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on doing something like this” since it is exempt from state environmental laws, said Craig Swartz, an attorney with the Sierra Club.

County officials say the event is a public benefit because it showcases the county’s agricultural and economic growth as well as its natural riches.

“We have a responsibility to use our resources in a responsible manner, and we believe we’re doing that,” said Joe Roch, a vice president with the San Luis Obispo County Coastal Council.

More than 1,500 people were injured or died in bungee jumping accidents from 1982 through 2006, Roch said, citing the association of government agencies’ notice of appeal.

County officials declined on Friday to comment on the case or the appeal.

County officials say they need to balance safety concerns with the needs of community members who use the area around South Laguna Creek for hiking, swimming and the observation of wildlife.

“The public has a right to see these amazing images and get a real sense of our beautiful county, particularly the coastal areas, the views and unique habitat,” said Steve Gatto, the South Laguna Creek Association’s director.

Bungee jumping

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