published Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Fall Creek Falls State Park opening aerial adventure park and zip line (with video)

  • photo
    Jayce Stock installs release pins on a safety cable as construction continues on the new ZIPStream Aerial Adventure at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The course is expected to be open by Saturday, June 14. The 2.5-hour self-guided experience will consist of six routes each consisting of 8-13 elements graded from easy to extreme.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

  • photo
    Chris Lowney makes his way in-between platforms while putting the final touches on one of the routes as construction continues on the new ZIPStream Aerial Adventure at Fall Creek Falls State Park on June 5, 2014. The course is expected to be open by Saturday, June 14, 2014. The 2.5-hour self-guided experience will consist of six routes each consisting of 8-13 elements graded from easy to extreme.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

COST

• Full Course pricing: $49.95 for adults and children 8 and older weighing 70 pounds and more

• Children’s/climbing adventure courses: $29.95 for ages under 8; must be accompanied by adult

FIND OUT MORE

• To learn more about the ZIPStream facility at Fall Creek Falls State Park, go to http://www.zipstreamfallcreekfalls.com.

• Information about accommodations and other attractions and facilities at Fall Creek Falls can be found at http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/fall-creek-falls.

RESTRICTIONS

• No drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs that may impair abilities

• No pregnant participants

• No recent or recurring neck, back or musculo-skeletal injuries

• No history of epilepsy or seizure disorders that do not allow participant to operate a motor vehicle

• No sufferers of heart conditions that could require immediate medical attention

Source: ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls

ADVENTURE TECH SPECS

8: Elements on ground school demo course

6: Number of courses

12: Elements on yellow (easy) course

9: Elements on green (easy) course

8: Elements on blue 1 (moderate) course

13: Elements on blue 2 (moderate) course

12: Elements on red (difficult) course

10: Elements on black (extreme) course

9: Total zip lines

42: Maximum height of course in feet

4: Climbing elements on climbing adventure (easy)

Source: ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls

REQUIREMENTS AND COSTS

All participants should be of moderate to excellent health and mobility

Weight: 40-275 pounds and participant must fit properly into harness and protective equipment

Minimum reach: Must be able to reach up to 66 inches while standing with both feet flat on the ground; participants unable to reach 66 inches high must be accompanied by an adult and are limited to the yellow course and climbing adventure.

Age requirements: Ages 12 and under must be accompanied by a participating adult. Check with the operator for other age-related requirements and details

Full Course pricing: $49.95 for adults and children 8 and older weighing 70 pounds and more

Children’s/climbing adventure courses: $29.95 for ages under 8; must be accompanied by adult

Private guided tours: $65 and participants should give adequate notice

PIKEVILLE, Tenn. — Starting this summer, Fall Creek Falls State Park will be the setting for a Spiderman-like experience of nature from above with the opening of an aerial adventure park.

ArborTrek Canopy Adventures and The Adventure Guild LLC are in the final stages of creating the park — a 2.5-hour self-guided tour that allows visitors to explore the hardwoods overlooking Fall Creek Falls Lake at their own pace through six courses and up to 70 elements, graded from easy to extreme.

Michael Smith, president of ArborTrek/ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls, said Thursday that about two-thirds of the project is complete for the “soft” opening on June 14.

A grand opening with all six courses fully functioning is scheduled for June 27.

Don Stock is the designer and builder of the aerial adventure project and co-owner with his wife, Kim, of Chattanooga-based The Adventure Guild LLC. Stock said the new facility is a first among Tennessee’s state parks and will be a model for elsewhere. The Stocks’ company operates the ZIPStream aerial adventure park at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga.

“This is the model that was born in France and Switzerland,” Stock said of the basic design. “It’s a very creative, organic sort of experience.”

Fall Creek Falls State Park is Tennessee’s largest and most-visited state park with more than 26,000 acres crisscrossed with sparkling streams, waterfalls, and deep gorges filled with all kinds of wildlife. The park has an inn, camping, cabins, and in recent years has been the target of renovations and updates.

Tennessee State Parks Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said in a statement that he believes park visitors of all ages will enjoy the attraction.

“We are very excited to introduce this great new addition to Fall Creek Falls,” Hill said.

Stock, 46, said the adventure course is the first new attraction Fall Creek Falls has added since it opened in the 1970s.

“It’s a wonderful place, but there’s not been anything new to revitalize and energize the place up to this point,” he said.

In the aerial adventure park, visitors ages “4 to 94” just take a few steps up to a platform atop a knoll overlooking the lake, connect their full-body harness to a flexible lifeline system that follows the path through the forest along obstacles made mostly of wood, rope, steel cable and bolts, gaining altitude a little at a time as the terrain falls away below. Some elements are up to 40 feet above the forest floor.

There are weight and size requirements for safety’s sake, according to Stock.

Zip lines — consisting of a heavy, tight-drawn cable that participants connect themselves to with a zip line trolley and “smart-belay” lanyard — allow users to glide through the trees from one landing platform to the next between obstacles.

Obstacles include elements like ladders, bridges that teeter precariously, balance beams, cargo nets and rope swings that provide heart-thumping thrills in a safe environment.

“This is so much more than just a zip line,” he said.

Stock said every participant first goes through “ground school” on a demonstration course to learn how to properly use the belay system and harness, and to get a feel for the obstacles they’ll face on the self-guided canopy tour.

“The classic aerial adventure park is all on flat ground,” Stock said, noting the course at Ruby Falls required design on a slope. “We’ve gotten pretty good at working on uneven ground. We have to figure out how to best use the terrain because it’s such a cool space.”

Stock hopes ZIPStream becomes well-known in adventurers’ circles.

“It’s definitely different than our other courses,” said Jason Redford, one of the crew of 20-somethings adjusting equipment and element structures on Thursday who also worked at Ruby Falls’ adventure park the last couple of years.

“For the area and the scenery that we get, you can’t beat it. It’s pretty awesome,” Redford said. “There’s a lot more platforms, a lot more elements, a lot more options.”

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.