This Summer Activity Is More Dangerous Than You Think
The horror stories I have from growing up outweigh all the possible fun that can be had while doing this activity.
There is nothing better than summer in Montana, and there are a few particular activities that are especially popular during the warmer months, most involving rivers or lakes. One summer activity popular among young adults, however, can be pretty dangerous, and we need to discuss it.
Bridge jumping is something we see not only here in the Gallatin Valley, but throughout Montana. This activity is more dangerous than it looks, because the bridges are at different heights, and water levels can differ every single day.
One of the popular bridges that people jump from is the Jefferson River Bridge near Three Forks. If you drive on the backroads in Montana, where there are small, local bridges, you can see young adults and teenagers regularly jumping off the bridge to cool off.
Unfortunately, most of the kids' don't check the water levels before jumping, and that be a huge mistake. I grew up in Polson, Montana, and we have a massive bridge crossing the lake. It's illegal to jump off the bridge because the water current is so strong that you will get swept up.
Bridge jumping has come under national attention after a girl in Washington was pushed off a 60-foot bridge and was seriously injured. Luckily we have many bridges that aren't that high off the water, but regardless of the height of the bridge, the water below isn't deep enough at many times of the year.
There have been several cases in which people have been injured or died from bridge jumping. Water can look deceivingly safe, and it's easy to underestimate how much depth you need, even from a low height. Missoula has had a hard time stopping people from bridge jumping over the past few years.
Am I discouraging you from bridge jumping? I personally would avoid this activity at all costs, because you never know what could happen. Just be safe, check the water levels, become familiar with the area, and don't mess around.