Click here for the Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

History and Impact of AdventureCORPS Events
within Death Valley National Park

AdventureCORPS®, Inc., founded in 1984 and led by Chris Kostman and his wife Laurie Kostman, organizes and promotes ultra-endurance sports events primarily within Death Valley National Park. AdventureCORPS' world-class events for athlete-adventurers include two epic challenges with a worldwide following (Badwater® 135 Ultramarathon running event and Furnace Creek 508 bicycling event) as well as the biannual Death Valley Century, Ultra Century, & Double Century bicycle rides (Spring and Fall editions), and a five-day cycling retreat with 50 cyclists known as CORPSCamp Death Valley, all of which draw participants from across North America and around the globe.

AdventureCORPS annually brings more overnight guests to Furnace Creek than any other organization. The events include:

Death Valley Century, Ultra Century, & Double Century - with up to 300 participants, plus family, friends, volunteers, and staff - has been held twice a year (Spring / March edition and Fall / October edition) since 1990, under AdventureCORPS’ direction since 2001. Riders come from 20 or more American states and numerous foreign countries. More info.

Furnace Creek 508 - with up to 250 participants, plus 400 support crew members and 50 event staff - has been held annually since 1989, under AdventureCORPS’ direction since 1990. This iconic bicycle race begins near Los Angeles and finishes in Twentynine Palms after traversing Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve. Participants come from 20 or more American states and a dozen countries. More info.

Badwater® 135 Ultramarathon - with up to 100 participants, 400 support crew members, and 50 event staff - has been held annually since 1987, under AdventureCORPS’ direction since 2000. This legendary foot race covers 135 miles non-stop from Badwater, the lowest point in North America to the end of the road on Mt. Whitney. Participants come from 20 or more American states and 20 to 25 countries. More info.

Altogether, since 1990, AdventureCORPS and Chris Kostman have hosted eighty-nine events within, and under permits from, Death Valley National Park. Event permits have never been denied, while no deaths nor major incidents have occurred.

The Official Charities of AdventureCORPS are the Challenged Athletes Foundation (since 2002) and Death Valley Natural History Association (since 2009). AdventureCORPS has donated or raised over $300,000 to support Challenged Athletes Foundation and over $19,000 for DVNHA, along with supporting other causes. More info.

Additionally, AdventureCORPS events happen not in a man-made stadium, but in the real world "out there." We care deeply about the natural world for we are intrinsically linked with it and because we want to enjoy these events in their awesome natural settings for a long, long time. As such, AdventureCORPS is a member of One Percent For the Planet and, as such, donates at least 1% of total revenues (in other words, "off the top) to environmental causes. This is in addition to all the work we do on behalf of, and donations we make to, our Official Charities. In association with our ongoing environmental efforts, AdventureCORPS is a member of the Conservation Alliance, an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas throughout North America. More info.

Economic and Charitable Impact of AdventureCORPS Events

A detailed survey of the ninety-six runners in the 2012 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon demonstrated over a One Million Dollar Economic Impact for the event:

-       Each Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, and his or her support crew members, spent an average of $9379 directly on their participation in the event. With 96 runners, that is a total of $804.336 in total being pumped into the economy in association with the event itself.

-       Nearly half of that money spent by Badwater 135 runners and crews is spent within Death Valley National Park and gateway or neighboring communities such as Lone Pine, CA (a total of $356,467).

-       Approximately 20% of all participants made additional trips within the same calendar year to Death Valley National Park and neighboring areas in order to train for the event, become familiar with the event route, and/or to vacation with their family and friends, spending additional money in the region. When considering these additional trips, the net overall annual economic impact of the Badwater 135 is OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

-       All Badwater 135 runners reported directly influencing their family and friends to undertake visits to Death Valley National Park and neighboring areas, further impacting the region in a positive economic manner.

-       In addition, a detailed survey of 2012 and 2013 Badwater 135 runners showed that they raised or donated $665,390 for charitable causes in association with their participation in the Badwater 135 in 2012 and/or 2013. This included:

o   Over $109,000 for Challenged Athletes Foundation, helping disabled athletes get back into the game.

o   Over $56,000 for the Caring House Project Foundation which provides homes for the world's most desperately poor in Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Indonesia and Africa.

o   Over $45,000 for Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

o   Almost $10,000 for Gildas Club, Madison, WI, providing cancer support for an entire family ($35,000 raised over 3 years.)

o   $11,566 for National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

o   $15,000 for Ordinary to Extraordinary, supporting children with life threatening or terminal illness.

o   $88,500 for Santa Lucia Fillipini: Girls of Miracatu, building of an orphanage gymnasium for at-risk girls in Brazil

o   $30,000 for Special Operations Warrior Foundation, providing college scholarships for surviving children of Special Operations personnel killed in the line of duty. ($250,000 raised over seven years.)

o   and many more philanthropic efforts led by Badwater 135 runners.

Click here for the Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

Positive Publicity for Death Valley National Park
and Gateway Communities

AdventureCORPS events, the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon in particular, draw athletes from across the globe who want to compete in the most well-known, best organized, and highly respected endurance running and cycling events available on the planet.

The 2013 Badwater 135, with 96 runners, boasted the most international field to date, with 22 nationalities, as well as 21 American states, represented, making it the unofficial “Olympics of ultra running." The field included 23 women, many of whom competed for the overall title with the fastest men.

Everyone who participates, including support crews, are forever known as members of "The Badwater Family" for they share a common bond of having been part of this special event and having fallen in love with "Mother Nature's Greatest Sports Arena," the incredible location where it takes place: Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, Lone Pine, and Mt. Whitney and the surrounding Sierra Nevada.

The event has been consistently ranked among the toughest of all sporting events on the planet by the likes of Outside Magazine, National Geographic, Forbes, and others. Veterans of the race have been profiled on 60 Minutes and the 2003 winner, Pam Reed, was an invited guest on David Letterman. (You ran all that way for a belt buckle??? Well, sign me up!" said Dave.)

Because of all this, because of its absolutely breath-taking, world-famous setting in Death Valley and on the slopes of Mt. Whitney, and because of its proximity to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon is a media darling.

Badwater 135 Ultramarathon brings worldwide positive attention to Death Valley National Park, to Inyo County, to Lone Pine, and to every business along the route. This positive publicity is of inestimable value, literally priceless. Here are some highlights:

• Featured on the “Late Show with David Letterman” in 2003, Discovery Channel in 2004, “60 Minutes” and PBS “Nature” in 2005, Jeep World of Adventure Sports on NBC in 2006, CNBC in 2007, CNN in 2009, AT&T Uverse in 2013, and numerous German, French, British, and Brazilian TV programs in 2000-2012, among others.

• Feature stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Washington Post, Orange County Register, San Diego Union-Tribune, Rocky Mountain News, Marin Independent Journal, and scores of other regional newspapers.

• Feature stories have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, Runners World USA, Runners World UK, Ultra Running, Marathon and Beyond, Outside, Competitor, and a wide panorama of foreign language magazines across Europe and Brazil, such as Playboy Germany, Stern Germany, VO2 Running of France, and many others.

AdventureCORPS is a tireless, relentless promoter of the National Park Service and the athletes who participate in the Badwater 135 and other AdventureCORPS events become zealous, committed National Park advocates.

AdventureCORPS uses its social media and other outreach opportunities to promote Death Valley National Park, environmental awareness, and ethical sportsmanship. It reaches out into the world through these and other channels:

• An email newsletter with nearly 10,000 subscribers

• A Badwater 135 Facebook page with over 12,600 followers

• An AdventureCORPS Facebook page with over 7,500 followers

• A Furnace Creek 508 Facebook page with over 1,600 followers

• A Twitter feed with over 5,600 followers

Statistics about the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon

- 743 people have entered the Badwater 135 since 1987, for a total of 1396 entries.

- Of those 1396 entries, 1142 have been men.

- Of those 1396 entries, 254 have been women.

- Of the 743 unique individuals who have begun the event, 652 finished officially (88%).

- The youngest female finisher ever was Claire Heid, 23, USA, in 2012.

- The youngest male finisher ever was Nickademus Hollon, 19, USA, in 2009.

- The oldest female finisher ever was Sigrid Eichner, 64, Germany, in 2005.

- The oldest male finisher ever was Jack Denness, 75, UK, in 2010.

- The average age, literally every year, is 46.

- The runners all have full-time “normal” jobs and careers, such as military, medical, engineering, computer science, teaching, legal, retail, management, coach, firefighter, farmer, investment, civil servant, and government official.

- The runners are all amateurs, there is no prize money, and all finishers, regardless of finishing position and time, receive the same award, the coveted Badwater Belt Buckle, considered “the holy grail of ultra running.”

- One runner has completed the race ten times, one runner has completed the race eleven times, two runners have completed the race twelve times, one runner has completed the race thirteen times, one runner has completed the race fourteen times, and one runner has completed the race nineteen times.

- The runners in the 2013 edition represented twenty-five countries by citizenship or residence: Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and United States of America (and twenty-one America states).

- 45 of the 50 American states have been represented by a Badwater runner.

- 47 different nationalities, and 45 different countries of residence, have been represented by a Badwater runner.

More info:

E-mail Comments from Death Valley National Park Service staff in regards to the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon and Cycling Events hosted by AdventureCORPS

"Chris Kostman, the race organizer, has shown a professional commitment to managing his events in the safest manner possible and has been an excellent ambassador for all types of sporting events." - Dave Rhinehart, Concessions Specialist/Special Park Uses Coordinator, Death Valley National Park on 3/7/03

"Just had a great conversation with Bil Vandergraff, who is a Wilderness Ranger at Grand Canyon. As you might know, they have an aggressive PSAR program (Preventative Search and Rescue). It's been ongoing for a few years now, and has undoubtedly saved several lives. As part of their ongoing quality assurance, they have continued to do research on both heat related illness and effective communication methods. Bil mentioned to me how impressive your event is, particularly in terms of how few serious heat related problems you typically have. His comment was funny, something to the effect of 'We have people who in less than 20 miles find themselves heading to a hospital, and there's Chris with people running in the desert for two days straight with no serious issues!''" - Dave Rhinehart, Concessions Specialist/Special Park Uses Coordinator, Death Valley National Park on 7/29/03 in regards to Badwater 135 Ultramarathon

"The feedback from rangers, park staff, and CHP is that this was one of the smoothest and safest races to date. Good work, and thanks for all of your efforts to that end." - Dave Rhinehart, Business Manager, Death Valley National Park on 7/16/04 in regards to Badwater 135 Ultramarathon

"All the feedback I've gotten from our staff has been very positive about this year's ride. Congrats to you and Chris for organizing the group and achieving a high level of compliance with safety concerns." - Dave Rhinehart, Business Manager, Death Valley National Park on 10/24/05

"Speaking of which, resounding 'great event' from all the rangers I spoke with this morning about the Century/Double.  Dave Rhinehart, Business Manager, Death Valley National Park on 10/31/05

"You have been doing this long enough that everything seems to run very seamlessly -- and this being my first year I am very grateful for that." - Rick Kendall, Special Use Permits, Death Valley National Park on 3/1/06

"The Century-Double Century went off without a hitch. It was tight on the road between the Grapevine Ranger Station and Scotty's Castle with the bikes and cars, but that is beyond control." - Thanks, Trina Lapinsky, Death Valley National Park on 11/20/06

"They are a good user group. Out of all the people and events that we have in the Park, this is probably one of my favorites, because you are dealing with a very high class of individual. They have a good understanding of the Park and they have a really strong desire to be here. You have to step it up if you decide to do something like this. I appreciate them being here." - Ranger John Fish, North District Ranger, Death Valley National Park on 7/18/08 in regards to Badwater 135 Ultramarathon

"Chris, You have been great to work with. Looking forward to having you again." - Debbie Wehmeyer, Special Park Use, Death Valley National Park on 11/1/11

Click here for the Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

AdventureCORPS Events and the National Park Service: A Great Fit!

(All quotes are from various NPS and DOI websites, as noted.)

National Park Service Mission Statement

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the NPS. The “Organic Act” states that the fundamental purpose of the NPS “is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”


The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.


Use of the Parks

National parks belong to all Americans, and the National Park Service will welcome all Americans to experience their parks. The Service will focus special attention on visitor enjoyment of the parks while recognizing that the NPS mission is to conserve unimpaired each park’s natural and cultural resources and values for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of present and future generations. The Service will also welcome international visitors, in keeping with its commitment to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout the world.

            Source: (P.97)

“Civic engagement” is a philosophy, discipline, and practice defined by the National Park Service as “a continuous, dynamic conversation with the public on many levels that reinforces public commitment to the preservation of heritage resources.”  More specifically, civic engagement is about enhancing and maintaining relationships with local communities and other interests, both near and far, in order to encourage stewardship of resources on both sides of park boundaries.


A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement

In our second century, the National Park Service must recommit to exemplary stewardship and public enjoyment of these places. We must promote the contributions that national parks and our community assistance programs make to create jobs, strengthen local economies, and support ecosystem services. We must strategically integrate our mission across parks and programs and use their collective power to leverage resources and expand our contributions to society.


America’s Great Outdoors

President Obama launched the America's Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative to develop a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda. AGO takes as its premise that lasting conservation solutions should come from the American people - that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective that is shared by all Americans.

Instead of dictating policies, this initiative turns to communities for local, grassroots conservation initiatives. Instead of growing bureaucracy, it calls for reworking inefficient policies and making the federal government a better partner with states, tribes, and local communities.


Encouraging Visitor Activities

To provide for enjoyment of the parks, the National Park Service will encourage visitor activities that:

• are appropriate to the purpose for which the park was established; and

• are inspirational, educational, or healthful, and otherwise appropriate to the park environment; and

• will foster an understanding of and appreciation for park resources and values, or will promote enjoyment through a direct association with, interaction with, or relation to park resources; and

• can be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts to park resources or values.

            Source: (P.99)

Click here for the Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

Why Does the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon Have Such
a High Success Rate? I mean, Isn't It Dangerous?

People drop dead, on average, about three times per year within Death Valley National Park: NONE of them have ever been associated with any sporting event. In fact, athletes participating in our events, the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon in particular, are the least likely to have a health issue or be involved in any kind of incident within the Park!

Despite being known as “the world’s toughest foot race,” in the past five years the successful completion rate for runners in the event has been 89%. That is a very high number and it is testimony to many factors related to the design and operation of the event, including:

-       The event has minimum qualifying standards required to even apply to enter the event: Rookie entrants must have completed at least three 100-mile, or longer, non-stop ultrarunnning events, or a similar, spin-off event called “Brazil 135” plus other events, before even being allowed to submit an application. Furthermore, each applicant is encouraged to have a minimum of five years experience as an ultramarathon runner.

-       Applicants are screened by a committee of five which includes the first woman to have ever completed the event (in 1987), a member of the Badwater Medical Team who is also a two-time finisher of the event, a member of the race staff for 12 years who has also completed the race, the second man to ever complete the event who returned 24 years later to complete it again, as well as the race director. They review each detailed application to select the runners who are most likely to safely and fairly finish the race. More info.

-       Every year, 50% of the selected race field is intentionally made up of veteran finishers of the event, in part to maintain the “institutional memory” within the race field, in other words, people who know what they are doing and what’s involved in running in these conditions.

-       Rookie applicants who have experience serving on a support crew at the event are given additional consideration.

-       Runners selected to enter the event realize they were fortunate to be selected, and that the event cannot possibly accept or handle the much larger number of runners who would like to enter. As such, those selected make a monumental effort to show up ready to safely complete the event.

-       We have the most comprehensive, up-to-date information available about training for the heat, nutrition and hydration, as well as how to organize a support vehicle and crew, how to prevent blisters, and much more on the event website, This type of information was not available back when we took over the event in late 1999.

Click here for the Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

Books About the Badwater Ultramarathon

or authored by Badwater veterans, and featuring Badwater

The Death Valley 300

by Richard Benyo, published August 1991

In 1989, two runners—Tom Crawford and Richard Benyo—set off to become the first people to run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney and back…in mid-summer. They completed this first double crossing, which became known as the "Death Valley 300."

Buy the book:

The Longest Hill

by Jay Birmingham, published August 1983

Jay Birmingham recounts his 1981 Death Valley crossing, the second ever successful run from Badwater to Mt. Whitney.

Get the book:

The Athlete's Way

by Christopher Bergland, published June 2008

The Athlete’s Way presents a practical, motivational fitness program that incorporates brain science, positive psychology and behaviorism to transform lives from the inside out. It is the antidote to the imbalances created by living a sedentary, inactive existence. Badwater Ultramarathon veteran Christopher Bergland has created a program that uses neurobiology and behavioral models to help improve life through exercise.

Buy the book:

Death Valley Ultras: The Complete Crewing Guide

by Thesera Daus-Weber and Denise Jones, published May 2006

Written by two runners with years of experience in the Valley, this guide is a collection of everything runners and their crew need to know to crew a successful Death Valley ultra compiled into one well-organized, easy to use reference.

Buy the book:

The Clock Keeps Ticking

by Sharon Gayter, published November 2010

Sharon Gayter is one of the world's top ultra runners. She could barely stagger half a mile before collapsing breathless and exhausted after a friend gave her a first pair of running shoes. She has now run 837 miles from Lands End to John O'Groats in a blistering 12 days and 16 hours and holds the Commonwealth gold medal for running 140 miles in 24 hours. She has run incredible distances all over the world. Sharon Gayter was driven to run. Running gave her freedom, to discover who she was and to make her own life on her own terms with spectacular success. En route to international acclaim she found the perfect husband. An amazing, inspirational story for runners and non-runners alike.

Buy the book:

To the Edge

by Kirk Johnson, published July 2002

When his older brother commits suicide, Kirk starts running—running to escape, running to understand, running straight into the hell of Badwater, the ultimate test of endurance equal to five consecutive marathons. From the inferno of Death Valley to the freezing summit of Mt. Whitney, alongside a group of dreamers, fanatics, and virtual running machines, Kirk will stare down his limitations and his fears on a journey inward-a journey that just might offer the redemption of his deepest and most personal loss. Johnson is an editor at the New York Times who completed the 1999 Badwater Ultramarathon and was featured in "Running on the Sun," the feature-length film about that year's race.

Buy the book:

Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss

by Dean Karnazes, Published March 2011

From the hilarious to the profound, the linked stories in Run! create an unforgettable tableau, offering a glimpse into the mind-set and motivation of an extreme athlete. Karnazes addresses the pain, perseverance, and emotional state as he pushes the edges of human achievement. The tales of the friendships he’s cultivated on his many adventures around the world warm the heart and are sure to captivate and inspire.

Buy the book:

Ultramarathon Man

by Dean Karnazes, Published March 2005

Dean Karnazes is an ultramarathoner, a member of an elite group of athletes who run in 50- and 100-mile races and beyond. In Ultramarathon Man, he recounts some of the biggest races of his life and explains the passion that leads him to push his body to its limits. Although this book was released in early 2005, the year after Dean won the Badwater Ultramarathon, the chapter about Badwater recounts his DNF experience in the 1995 race.

Buy the book:

Born to Run

by Christopher McDougall, published May 2009

Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, the author sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets; in the process showing us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Buy the book:

Burst This!

by Frank McKinney, published February 2009

Badwater Ultramarathon veteran and "real estate artist" Frank McKinney helps you wash away the worry and anxiety that financial theorists and misguided media constantly dump into the real estate marketplace. During his 25-year career, Frank has thrived through all economic conditions by taking a contrarian approach and making his own markets.

Buy the book:

Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes, and the Good Luck Circle

by Frank McKinney, published February 2009

Badwater Ultramarathon veteran Frank McKinney boldly enters young reader fiction in this fantasy novel. The story was inspired by the more than 1,250 walks to school McKinney has shared with his daughter and her friends in real life. Come along with Ppeekk and her friends into the fantastical world of Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes, and the Good Luck Circle.

Buy the book:

The Tap

by Frank McKinney, published January 2009

Renowned "real estate artist" and Badwater Ultramarathon veteran Frank McKinney reveals the most important spiritual principle behind his astronomical success. He explains how God has tapped him (and taps everyone) many times in life, answering prayers and presenting life-changing opportunities. Learn how to listen and respond to your own "Tap Moments."

Buy the book:

The Extra Mile

by Pam Reed, published September 2007

In The Extra Mile we watch Badwater Ultramarathon veteran Pam Reed seek balance in her life as a wife, mother, athlete, and entrepreneur. With astonishing candor she tells of her 15-year-long battle with anorexia. And she helps us to understand her passion for ultrarunning—to discover how far the human body can be pushed.

Buy the book:

Running Hot

by Lisa Tamati, published May 2010

The Badwater Ultramarathon through California's Death Valley is one of the world's toughest races. Lisa Tamati was the first New Zealand woman to compete in the race alongside such legends of the sport as Dean Karnazes and David Goggins. But Lisa's story is so much more than that one race.

Buy the book:

Running on Empty

by Marshall Ulrich, published April 2011

In the fall of 2008, Badwater veteran Marshall Ulrich clocked the third fastest transcontinental crossing to date and set new records in multiple divisions. In Running on Empty, he shares the gritty backstory. Ulrich also reaches back nearly 30 years to when the death of the woman he loved drove him to begin running—and his dawning realization that he felt truly alive only when pushed to the limits.

Buy the book:

Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

As it stands now, there will be NO sporting events of any kind held within Death Valley National Park in 2014. That includes the five events we host there (CORPScamp Death Valley; Death Valley Century, Ultra Century, and Double Century - Spring and Fall editions; Furnace Creek 508; and Badwater 135 Ultramarathon), as well as other cycling and running events such as the Ride to Cure Diabetes and Titus Canyon Marathon which are held under "special event permits" within our National Park.

Before you read further, please be assured that three of those events - CORPScamp, Badwater 135, and The 508 - WILL BE HELD in 2014 on alternate routes. Details below. AdventureCORPS will also host Badwater Salton Sea, the brand new Badwater Cape Fear, and brand new Trona 308.

This dramatic turn of events is a result of the position being taken by Death Valley National Park (DVNP), as per their website:

Effective immediately Death Valley National Park will temporarily discontinue issuance of running and bicycling event permits. Future event permits will not be considered until a thorough safety evaluation of this type of activity has been completed.

This statement on the DVNP website was the only "notification" made to us regarding this dramatic turn of events. We received no direct communication of any kind that events would not be allowed within DVNP in 2014.

This "safety review" is not being undertaken as a result of any serious incident or accident within the Park. It is not being undertaken as a result of any significant number of complaints. It is being undertaken purely under the prerogative of a few DVNP employees, most notably the Park Superintendent, Kathleen Billings, who assumed leadership of the Park in March of 2013.

Besides the immediate impact to our, and other, events held annually within Death Valley National Park, this development is particularly unsettling for several reasons, including:

- It is unprecedented to place a one-year ban on existing sporting events within a National Park without any specific incident, accident, or complaint triggering such a drastic move. It is our contention that the events should be allowed to continue while the "safety review" unfolds.

- During a recent meeting with DVNP staff, they stated "other Parks are watching us" and "we might be setting a national precedent." Even a one-year ban on events is NOT a precedent that anybody who enjoys cycling or running events within National Parks would support. There are successful and popular cycling and running events held within National Parks across America; they could all be in jeopardy now.

- This "safety review" process is essentially open-ended. DVNP staff stated that they hope to complete their analysis by the end of the March, except they "all have full-time jobs even without dealing with events and reviewing them." After the analysis is complete, they intend to "send it up the chain" to the regional office in San Francisco, and then likely from there it would be transmitted to the national office in Washington, DC. Their best prediction is that the results and recommendations of this review would not be finalized until the end of September, 2014. As the Furnace Creek Ranch will not honor our special rooming blocks for our events under such a circumstance, this review effectively rules out any events happening in 2014 since we can not host events for which there is nowhere to stay.

- The final result of this "safety review" is completely unclear. It could be the case that the DVNP staff will determine that sporting events are not "an appropriate Park use" and thus the one-year ban could become a permanent ban. Other National Parks could then use the Death Valley precedent to ban events in Parks across the country. Alternatively, while the ban may not become permanent, the "safety review" could result in onerous, expensive, and perhaps effectively impossible or untenable additional requirements placed upon all would-be event organizers in Death Valley and elsewhere. Besides, Federal guidelines approved and mandated by the NPS already exist to govern and regulate both cycling events and running events held within National Parks. Why reinvent the wheel?

The history of these extremely safe and well-run events is the most accurate predictor of their safety, their relevance to the National Park Service purpose and mission, and their appropriateness for this particular Park:

- AdventureCORPS and Chris Kostman have hosted 89 events since 1990 under DVNP special event permits without ever being refused a permit by DVNP, the Department of Transportation, or Inyo County. There have been no deaths, no car crashes, no citations issued, and only a few evacuations by ambulance after literally millions of miles covered on foot or by bike by event participants.

- These events are an incredible economic boon to Inyo County, a remote county of 10,000 square miles with just 18,000 residents which is heavily dependent upon tourism dollars. AdventureCORPS brings more overnight guests to Furnace Creek than any other organization: Approximately 1,000 athletes and an additional 1,000 support crew members, event staff, volunteers, family, and friends come to Death Valley each year because of AdventureCORPS events. For the vast majority, it was only because of the draw of well-run AdventureCORPS events that they even first ventured to the Park. Now a high percentage of the participants join these events every year without fail.

- A survey of 2012 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon runners revealed that each runner and their support crew spend a combined average of $9379 to participate in the race and about 20% make additional trips to the Death Valley / Lone Pine region each year, for a total of over $1 million dollars in annual economic impact from just this one event. Nearly half of that money is spent in the region. The Inyo County Supervisors and Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce are extremely concerned about the economic impact of even a one-year ban on sporting events. Hotels, restaurants, gas stations, gift shops, and other businesses will be directly impacted. A wider view of the ban would indicate a negative impact on car rentals, airlines, and service providers to the events such as Liberty Ambulance in Ridgecrest, Subway in Pahrump, radio and satellite phone rental providers, t-shirt screeners, bicycle jersey manufacturers, buckle and medal manufacturers, and more. The ripple effect will be enormous and reverberate across the country.

- A survey of 2012 and 2013 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon runners demonstrated they raised, remarkably, over $665,000 for charitable causes in association with their participation in the 2012 and/or 2013 Badwater races. A ban on events will hit the bottom line of Challenged Athletes Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Association, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, MS Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and scores of other charitable organizations which are supported by participants in these events.

- Participants in Death Valley sporting events become tireless Park Advocates because of their intimate experience of, and appreciation for, this dramatic landscape and American treasure. They tell their friends about the Park, post widely on the Internet about their experience, support the Death Valley Natural History Association, and become regular visitors. In a time of dwindling government funding for the National Park Service, our athletes are exactly the kind of people that the NPS desperately needs spending money within the Parks and extolling their critical importance to their neighbors and their House Representatives, Senators, and other government officials. Why slam the door on the best people the Parks have in their court?

For a very detailed history of AdventureCORPS events held within Death Valley National Park, along with their economic, philanthropic, and publicity impact, and much more, visit the top of this current page.

We do not claim any "right" to host these events; we acknowledge freely that it is a privilege to host special events within a National Park. We also do not deny the need for a legitimate "safety review" of the events and their potential for impact upon other Park visitors. In fact, we have proposed numerous mitigation efforts which will help ensure that the long-standing impeccable safety record of all AdventureCORPS events remains intact and is further enhanced.

Our primary concern is three-fold: first, the economic impact and associated loss of unique Death Valley National Park experiences in 2014 due to the moratorium on the events is devastating to local businesses and athletes alike; secondly, there is the high potential that this "safety review" could result in an outright ban of such events within Death Valley National Park and potentially across the entire National Park System; third, if an outright ban is not implemented, onerous, expensive, and perhaps effectively impossible or untenable additional requirements may be placed upon all would-be event organizers, creating the equivalent of a ban.

If you feel strongly about this matter and wish to have your voice heard, we encourage you to direct your letters via US Postal Service, as well as via email where noted, to to the following:

Senator Dianne Feinstein
331 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
General Topic: Economy

Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Topic: Help With a Federal Agency
Message Subject: Death Valley Bans Sports Events

Representative Col. Paul Cook (Ret.)
8th Congressional District
1222 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(Note: Can only accept emails through his site from residents of his district.)
Issue Topic: Economy

Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Message Subject: Death Valley Bans Sports Events

Mr. Jon Jarvis, Director
National Park Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Ms. Christine Lehnertz, Regional Director
National Perk Service - Pacific West Division
333 Bush Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94104-2828

Even if you do not live in California, please do not hesitate to write to the California Senators and Congressman; this state's economy is largely built upon tourism and thus all our elected officials appreciate the hard-earned dollars spent here by AdventureCORPS athletes from across the continent and around the world.

Beyond that, we ask for your support and encourage you to join us for one or more of the awesome events we will be hosting in 2014. All will feature a world-class setting, an epic route, the highest AdventureCORPS standards of event production, and the sportsmanship, camaraderie, and "family reunion" atmosphere that are the hallmarks of all our events.

Feb 24-27
CORPScamp Santa Monica Mountains
Four-day cycling camp with yoga based in Westlake Village, CA
More info.

March 22
Badwater® Cape Fear
Brand new, inaugural 50km / 51-mile ultrarunning race on Bald Head Island, NC
More info.

May 2-3
Badwater® Immersion
Immerse yourself in the world of ultra running and Badwater with some of the biggest names and most insightful coaches, promoters, and professionals ever assembled. Come to learn, to have fun, to expand your horizons, to learn the secrets of longevity, health, and more in this jam-packed weekend get-away held at a southern California desert oasis. Come to Badwater Immersion on May 2-4 in Borrego Springs, CA. The program includes two morning runs through Borrego Springs, Yoga Tune Up® and Yoga For Athletes classes, a three-hour hike, and four sessions of programs on subjects such as Designing a Multi-Year Plan to Compete in a Pinnacle Event, Crewing 101, Finding a Balance in Your Life, Mental Aspects of Ultra Sports, and Conquering Your Life's Badwaters. Presenters include Marshall Ulrich, Jimmy Dean Freeman, Frank McKinney, and Laurie Kostman, plus an all-star panel of Badwater veterans for a round-table Q&A.
More info.

May 5-6
Badwater® Salton Sea
2nd annual 81-mile ultrarunning race from Salton Sea to Palomoar Mountain. All entrants enter and run together (not relay) as teams of three.
More info.

May 31- June 1
The Trona 308
Inaugural new 308-mile ultracycling race based upon the abbreviated 508 held in October, 2013 from Santa Clarita to Trona and back.
More info.

July 21-23
Badwater® 135 Ultramarathon
The new and improved 135-Mile World Championship event will feature an incredible new route based in Lone Pine, CA. This remarkable route features over 19,000 feet of elevation gain, two dramatic ascents into the Sierra Nevada, and a 15-mile dirt road trek to an authentic ghost town.
More info.

Oct 4-6
The 508
The 31st anniversary edition of "the toughest 48 hours in sport" will be held in a dramatic new venue with a world-class route. All who finish in any category will be guaranteed entry in the 2015 edition. Details will be revealed in January.
More info.

We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you "out there" in 2014, and beyond! We wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Yours in sport,
Chris Kostman,
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director

AdventureCORPS, Inc.
638 Lindero Canyon Rd #311
Oak Park, CA 91377 USA