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Bridge Jump, West Virginia, 1999

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"On Bridge Day each October you can walk across the New River Gorge Bridge—or jump off. Hundreds of parachutists make the 876-foot [267-meter] leap on the one day it's legal. How much free-fall time is safe? 'You'll hit the water about nine seconds after you jump,' advises Bridge Day enthusiast Bill Von Novak, 'It's a good idea to open your chute before that happens.'"

—From “New River’s Deep Soul,” June 1999, National Geographic magazine
Photograph by Susie Post Rust

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