Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 20, 2013

State moving forward with zip lines at Greenbo, Carter Caves, other parks

FRANKFORT — Adventure tourists in Northeast Kentucky can start thinking about putting on their helmets and hitching up their harnesses, because the Kentucky Department of Parks is looking for contractors to install zip lines at Greenbo and Carter Caves state resort parks.

The plan is to issue 15-year licenses to build, operate and maintain zip lines at the two parks and three others: Pennyrile Forest, Kenlake, and Pine Mountain, according to a request for bid document on the finance and administration cabinet’s website.

The bid request calls for six to eight lines at each park.

Zip lines are lengths of cable stretched high overhead, often over trees, valleys and buildings. Riders are suspended by a harness from a trolley, which have rollers that travel along the cables.

Chosen contractors will have to design courses that will meet inspection standards and use materials that meet safety and performance standards. That includes using aircraft-grade cables and weight-tested harnesses.

Contractors also will have to provide safety gear such as helmets and in some cases elbow and knee protection.

Contractors will be required to be accredited by a professional association that governs certain types of adventure courses.

They will not be allowed to build or alter any structures in the parks without permission from the parks department, and the department will monitor the work. Removal of any structures or equipment requires the contractor to repair any damage to the premises.

Where the zip lines will be located in each park ultimately will be decided by the parks.

Greenbo park manager Cary Lyle is eager to get started on a project. “Outdoor adventure is the key to tourism. It’s what the younger generation is looking for, the adrenaline rush,” Lyle said. “We think we can use natural resources to make that happen.”

With more than 3,000 acres at Greenbo, Lyle doesn’t yet know where the best location would be but envisions a canopy tour, or a series of cables and platforms snaking through the forest canopy.

Park patrons have suggested a course that crosses the lake, he said.

At minimum, a zip line course would attract to the park a number of youth groups that currently go out of state for the experience, he said.

The state will open the bids April 30; no date has been set for awarding contracts.


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