Kirk Facer Proctor was a county bureaucrat, a numbers man, formerly the point guard in the development of the South Towne Mall.
Friday, the Sandy outdoorsman was killed on a treacherous stretch on northern Idaho's Selway River, the third Utahn to die in The Ladle rapids in as many years.Proctor, 36, a father of three, was on a five-day river trip with his two brothers and 13 others when he was thrown out of the raft in a "keeper," which is a hole in the rapids that can trap boats or people. Proctor, who was wearing a life jacket and a wet suit, apparently was injured then trapped in the freezing cold river for 15 to 20 seconds. An hour of resuscitation efforts failed.
Proctor was vice president and regional manager for Turnmar Corp., one of the companies that built the south valley shopping center, and it was Proctor who helped the project win approval from Sandy city government officials. He later was hired by Salt Lake County, where he was appointed assistant tax administrator.
Other Utahns also killed on the same stretch of river were William R. Price, 38, of Logan, in May 1988; and Karen Brandon, 41, of Salt Lake City, in June 1988. All three fatalities occurred on privately organized runs, and those familiar with the river attribute the rash of accidents to the growing popularity of the challenge of whitewater river-rafting.
The Ladle is part of a series of rapids known as Moose Juice, and permits to run the river that runs through the heart of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area are issued in a computerized lottery run by the U.S. Forest Service. Only about 60 permits are issued each year, and during the height of the rafting season, only one boat a day is launched.
One member of Proctor's group told Idaho County Sheriff Randy Baldwin that they had been planning to challenge the Selway for more than 10 years. "These guys were set up, prepared for stuff like that. But when you get injured, it throws everything off."
Baldwin said running the river is a premier outdoor experience that is famed throughout the country. "This has got that kind of reputation, the Selway does. I think people that are into whitewater rafting have heard about it all over the country."
The river becomes especially dangerous when the water is high during late May and early June. He said the accident occurred in an area that is so rugged that the rescue helicopter had to land two miles away. Proctor's brother hiked to a vacant ranger station to report the accident.
The Forest Service will be reviewing its procedures in the wake of Proctor's death, according to Herb Spradlin, West Fork District acting ranger at Hamilton, Mont. When the Forest Service issues a river running permit, they also issue safety warnings, although they don't volunteer information about past deaths on the river.
The funeral for Proctor will be held at the LDS Church's Granite 15th Ward Chapel, 10375 S. 2100 East, at noon Wednesday, June 6.