DRAPER — Paraglider pilots who believe the Point of the Mountain provides some of the best air in the world are worried mining on the mountain will clip their wings and keep them from flying.
The Point of the Mountain has been excavated for freeways and construction for the past couple decades, leaving large gravel pits and mounds. Many paragliders have used the mountains for paragliding, and it's become a common sight to see them floating in the sky at the Point of the Mountain.
However, Geneva Rock has started expanding its mining operation and has begun excavating a slope of the mountain. Many paragliders are afraid the construction will change the wind flow.
Chris Hunlow moved to Utah from California in 2001, and has since made paragliding a big part of his life.
"This took over my life," Hunlow said. "I now have a job that allows me to fly as much as I can, and I live right here at the Point of the Mountain, so this is my life."
Hunlow said that the construction will change the ridgeline, which he said is critical to helping paragliders catch the wind currents.
Paraglider pilot Milly Wallace explained that the wind will follow the path of the hill.
"That is where we are catching our lift, is right there," she said. "Anything that disturbs that is going to change the flow of that wind."
We're not trying to pick a fight or anything. We're just trying to see what we can do to work with everybody to help save this because this is rare.
–Chris Hunlow, paraglider
However, Geneva Rock owns the rights to the land at the Point of the Mountain to use for excavation. Spokesman Jake White said that Geneva Rock supports the paragliders and even traded some of its property so the south paragliding park could be built a few years prior.
"We support what they are doing and have supported it for a lot of years," White said. "We've begun digging and mining on one of the slopes close by here that is within our property boundaries, but we don't have plans to go much further than that."
Paraglide enthusiasts said they don't want to get into a confrontation about the ridgeline, but they want to find a compromise.
"We're not trying to pick a fight or anything," Hunlow said. "We're just trying to see what we can do to work with everybody to help save this, because this is rare."
Hunslow and other paraglide pilots also want to preserve the area for future generations to enjoy the sport.
"As paragliders and as hang gliders here at this site, no other place in this state can we really live that dream," said paraglider pilot Jeff Ambrose.