Bridge Day 2023 a raging success

The event of the year — Bridge Day attracted 82,000 people to the New River Gorge to catch a glimpse of all the base jumpers getting their adrenaline rush on.

“We had over 250 jumpers with 50 staff so maybe around 300 total jumpers,” said Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, New River Gorge CVB, Bridge Day executive assistant Tim Naylor. “They did about 715 total jumps between the group — no major injuries so we’re fortunate to have just an all-around good day.”

According to Naylor, the Bridge Day Commission put a lot of work into this throughout the year and to see it come to fruition and know everything went well and everybody’s happy he called fulfilling.

Olivia decided to jump two weeks ago.

“Just live your life, do things that scare you a little bit,” said the Baltimore, Maryland resident.

Her friend wanted to do this for three years and decided this was her year.

“It’s Bridge Day, New River Gorge. Fear is a thing of joy,” said Angela Pardue, of Asheville, North Carolina.

He came all the way from New Mexico (via West Virginia, where he was born and raised) to visit his family and go to Bridge Day.

“Instead of Christmas or the other kind of bigger holidays ’cause it’s just as many people, just as much stuff to do but there’s not all the other obligations,” James said. “It’s a fun time to come visit.”

After hearing about it on TikTok these friends couldn’t resist and drove cross county from Sacramento, California to attend their first ever Bridge Day.

“It’s amazing; I don’t know who would jump off a bridge willingly… I personally wouldn’t do it — but to the people.”

Photographer Dave Green takes scenic pics and says West Virginia is a special state for a lot of reasons, but one in particular that not many people are aware of is that it has very dark skies.

“Especially up into the Monongahela National Forest area, some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi,” Green said. “And so you know you get outside of this area and you’re traveling a long way to be able to see the Milky Way with the naked eye. And we have a real gift of the night sky here.”

They’ve been rappelling collectively for 50 years… and were part of the 24 Bridge Day teams with ropes dropped and going down a descending device.

“Such as this, and this creates friction on the rope… and you adjust the friction so you can control yourself sliding down the rope,” said Cincinnati, Ohio resident Paul Harper.

Why do he and his friends choose to do this instead of base jumping?

“Are you kidding,” Harper said. His friend added, “Base jumpers are crazy.”

At the end of the day, it doesn’t get better than all the base jumpers against a backdrop of the Gorge’s stunning scenery.

“We’re super glad that we were able to do that and get it done right… and now we rest,” Naylor said.

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