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White Salmon businessman dies in accident

Rider was apparently by himself

The body of a White Salmon man killed in a fall from a popular Columbia Gorge mountain bike trail was recovered by search and rescue specialists Monday afternoon.

Klickitat County Sheriff Chris Mace said his office believes Jeffrey A. Johnson, 49, had a mountain bike accident near the top of Burdoin Mountain's Coyote Wall sometime last weekend and "in the crash he fell off the edge."

In a radio call to his dispatcher Monday afternoon, a Klickitat County deputy who hiked up to the body with two Skyline Ambulance paramedics and a Lyle Fire Department Search and Rescue volunteer estimated the victim fell 700 to 800 feet onto rocks and boulders.

"His injuries seemed to have been fatal, though that's a determination the coroner is going to have to make," Mace noted. "But considering the distance of the fall, it's hard to imagine anybody surviving."

The sheriff said Johnson apparently was riding alone on a section of trail that "comes real close to the edge" and "had a bicycle accident of some sort."

Investigators, however, aren't sure when the accident occurred. Mace said the sheriff's office did not receive any missing person reports regarding Johnson.

"The only thing we can conclude is that it happened either Saturday or Sunday. That's what the evidence indicates," the sheriff said, adding, "At this point there's nothing suspicious about it. It just seems like a tragic accident."

According to Mace, two bike riders discovered Johnson's bike on the trail Monday morning, looked around and saw a body lying on a rocky downslope of the upper Coyote Wall. One of them used a cell phone to call 9-1-1 at 11:32 a.m.

Agencies that participated in the recovery included Klickitat County Search and Rescue, Wind River Search and Rescue and the Hood River-based Crag Rats.

Johnson, an expert in the field of environmental planning specializing in energy uses, moved to the White Salmon area in the late 1990s. In 2001, he opened the nonprofit New Buildings Institute at 142 Jewett Blvd.


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