A former U.S. Marine from Seattle has been identified as the man who died in a BASE-jumping accident in Squamish this week.
Thirty-year-old Gary Kremer has been named by friends on social media after he was killed jumping from the Stawamus Chief on Sunday, June 26 when "his parachute opened too late," landing near Highway 99, Squamish RCMP's Sgt. Jolaine Percival said. A YouTube account under Kremer's name featured several BASE-jumping videos, including some from the Chief.
Kremer's girlfriend Paige Anderson took to Facebook to memorialize the BASE-jumper.
"This morning, my love Gary Kremer died in a base jumping accident in Squamish, BC.," she wrote. "His kind, loving, energetic, and adventurous spirit will always live on." Anderson told the CBC that Kremer was an experienced BASE-jumper who had jumped off the Chief "many, many times" before.
The Chief is a popular destination for extreme sports enthusiasts, and the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park has been the scene of a handful of tragedies over the years. A 40-year-old Squamish resident died in a speed-gliding accident off the Chief last July, while another glider fell to his death off of Mount Habrich, also located in the park, in 2013.
In 2010, former Squamish Mayor Greg Gardner called for a ban on BASE-jumping from the Chief after two individuals had to be rescued from the peak in the span of a month. Current Mayor Patricia Heintzman acknowledged the risks associated with the sport, but said regulating it would start officials down "a slippery slope."
"I'm not sure where you start to legislate or regulate something like that, and where you start to draw the line," she said. "I don't think you're going to discourage people from coming here. They see the cliff, they see the ocean, they see the mountain peaks, they're going to want to explore them and push their limits. You welcome them and you hope they're doing their most to be safe and make good decisions."
Still no sign of woman who fell into Nairn Falls
Authorities have yet to turn up a sign of a woman who reportedly fell into Nairn Falls earlier this month despite extensive searches in the area.
Witnesses reported seeing the woman fall on June 19, and since then, Pemberton Search and Rescue (PSAR), commercial boat operators and volunteers have scoured the nearby Green River by jet boat, helicopter and kayak. Ground crews have also conducted numerous shorelines searches.
"It's unlikely that this search will have a happy outcome at this point," said PSAR manager Dave Steers.
Officials have not released the woman's name.
Green River has been the site of several tragedies over the years. A Swiss man died after falling into the river in 2014, while a Pemberton woman drowned in 2008 after being swept away by swift-moving waters.
Steers said it's imperative recreational users obey the signage and fencing around the falls.
"If people were to obey the signs and not hop the fences, the area would be fairly safe, but unfortunately that doesn't always happen," he said.
Stolen generator could delay BMX track opening
Whistler BMX is "shocked and saddened" after a generator was stolen from a worksite in Cheakamus just days before the group's bike track was slated to open to the public.
"It's mostly frustration (I'm feeling) at the fact that this is volunteer money and volunteer labour from a volunteer group, and it's disrespectful," said Whistler BMX track director Brian Finestone. "The karma value on that is pretty darn low. We're just trying to do something for the local kids, the community, for biking, and it's a partnership with lots of players involved. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
Finestone said the finishing touches were being put on the track planned for Bayly Park on Monday, June 27 when workers noticed the rented generator was missing. Whistler RCMP said the red and black Honda EU6500 generator, which was tied to a tree and covered by tarps, was stolen between 9 p.m. on June 26 and 8 a.m. the next day. Finestone said it will cost $4,800 to replace, eating up a chunk of the funds the group has already raised for the project.
"It means the cost of building our moto-shed, which was kind of covered by a donation from the Whistler Real Estate Group, we're now $5,000 short on that job," he added.
"It's pretty frustrating, that's for sure."
Now Finestone is hopeful either the generator will be returned or the community steps up to replace it.
"It could take us weeks in some cases (to raise the funds), or some Good Samaritan could drop off a generator or drop off $5,000; either one of those things can save our day overnight," said Finestone, who is aiming for a July opening.
"By no means is this going to stop us," he added. "It's just a bump in the road."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whistler RCMP at 604-932-3004 or BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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