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Daredevil ‘Big Ed’ Beckley keeps Evel Knievel jump lease

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – The Idaho Department of Lands said its lease with Texas daredevil “Big Ed” Beckley is still good despite Beckley’s problems securing a launch site for his plan to jump the Snake River Canyon in south-central Idaho.

“As long as Mr. Beckley continues to display diligent efforts toward securing necessary permissions from a landowner for a launch site – even if it is a private landowner on the south side of the canyon – and he meets all other obligations of the lease, he will remain in good standing,” Department of Lands spokeswoman Emily Callihan told the Times-News in an email.

Beckley paid $943,000 to the department at an auction in September to lease 1,147 acres on the Snake River Canyon’s north rim for a landing site, hoping to launch from the south rim at a site in the city of Twin Falls used by Evel Knievel in his failed attempt 40 years ago.

A provision in the lease had a Jan. 1 deadline to have permission from Twin Falls to use the site. In December, that was extended to March 1. Then on Feb. 3, Twin Falls officials denied Beckley’s request. Beckley now says he’ll launch from private land, though he hasn’t said where that private land is located.

Callihan clarified that the state’s lease says it “may be canceled,” not “shall be canceled,” if Beckley failed to get a permit.

Getting a permit from the city appears remote after the council on Feb. 5 voted against allowing any jumps or other special events for a year at the Knievel launch site until police take a closer look at safety surrounding such endeavors.

Callihan said the March 1 deadline could be extended to give Beckley even more time to find a launch point.