Small Town News

Local Government

Bell Rock vortex jumper costs taxpayers only $838

Cottonwood Journal Extra of Cottonwood, Arizona

- Advertisement -

Village of Oak Creek resident Peter Gersten, 70, left a lasting impression after spending much of the day atop Bell Rock on Dec. 21.

Many speclated Gersten would leap, from the red rock landmark in his belief a vortex or cosmic portal would open there. Gersten himself, a retired lawyer, denied he ever intended to leap from the edge, despite earlier news reports that indicated he planned a "leap of faith."

A crowd of onlookers visited Bell Rock on Dec. 21, hoping to get a glimpse of Gersten at the top. Besides the winter solstice, Dec. 21 also marked the end of the Mayan calendar, which many believed to indicate the end of the world.

Since Dec. 21, some have speculated how much Gersten's alleged leap of faith cost taxpayers, particularly due to the presence of law enforcement - a rescue team from the Sedona Fire District and a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office rescue helicopter that flew nearby during the course of the day.

However, the incident cost taxpayers less than $1, 000 extra, according to YCSO.

YCSO Public Information Officer Dwight D'Evelyn said monitoring the Dec. 21 event cost approximately $838 due to a single helicopter dispatched to

Bell Rock, which counted as the only additional cost to area law enforcement.

"The only additional cost for YCSO was the Rescue 1 helicopter deployment Dec. 21 at $838. Forest patrol deputies were assigned to the area as part of their regular workday [and] Sedona Fire did put a technical rescue team on standby," D'Evelyn said.

D'Evelyn said Gersten remained cooperative with deputies during his time on the VOC landmark. "The day before, he walked the trail with a forest patrol deputy to explain his timeline and path of travel," D'Evelyn said. "Peter and numerous followers came down from Bell Rock late in the afternoon on Dec. 21. Another gentlemen who had joined the crowd provided brief concern as he refused to come down off the mountain even after nightfall."

That man later came down from the rock, D'Evelyn added.

SFD Public Information Officer Gary Johnson said no additional SFD manpower or resources were used for the Dec. 21 Bell Rock incident. "The folks were already on duty and would have been there irregardless. There was no additional cost for us," Johnson said. "We're kind of prepared for these things. Coverage for that event was covered by personnel that were already on duty." Bell Rock, located off State

Route 179 in the VOC, is considered home to one of the area's many vortices - a form of energy many believe offers healing qualities. Other alleged vortex locations in the red rocks include Boynton Canyon, Airport Mesa and Cathedral Rock.

"The only additional cost for YCSO was the Rescue

1 helicopter deployment,

Dec. 21, at $838."

Dwight D'Evelyn

Yavapai County Sheriffs

Office Public Information


Copyright 2013 Cottonwood Journal Extra, Cottonwood, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 2, 2013

More from Cottonwood Journal Extra