Iconic Utah arch could soon close to rope swinging

In this Nov. 4, 2012 photo, a person swings on the Corona Arch near Moab, Utah. The arch has become popular for daredevil rope-swinging after climbers figured out how to adapt climbing gear to set up a pendulum ride under the arch. Federal officials are considering outlawing the stunt made so popular on YouTube that state authorities banned from commercial outfitters in 2013. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Brian Maffly) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A signature towering arch in southern Utah could soon be closed to rope-swinging and other daredevil activities amid frustration from visitors who came to marvel at a natural wonder, not an extreme-sports arena pierced by daredevil howls.

Federal officials at Corona Arch are considering outlawing the stunt made so popular on YouTube that state authorities banned it from commercial outfitters last year. The activity involves taking a running leap and swinging like a pendulum through five-story openings.

“Do we look down on folks who do this activity? No, of course not,” said Rock Smith, supervisory outdoor recreation planner at the federal Bureau of Land Management in Moab. “It’s a matter of is it appropriate or not” on lands designated for hiking. “The other side is: We know people like to swing, and we’re not stopping that everywhere, either.”

About 40,000 hikers trek to the sandstone structure each year, and many see it just once, federal officials estimate.

The plans come amid a recent change in ownership. Last month, the agency gained control of the area in a land swap that gave the state rights to oil-rich lands in eastern Utah.

Last year, 22-year-old Kyle Lee Stocking of West Jordan died after leaving too much slack in his rope.

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