Adventurous visitors to Allegheny County's North Park will soon have opportunity to go ape
Visitors to North Park will have the chance to unleash their inner Tarzan starting in April.
Construction should be finished next month on Go Ape North Park, a tree-top zipline course, said Dan D'Agostino, managing director of Derwood, Md.-based Adventure Forest LLC, which will build and operate it under a partnership with the county.
Think of the tree-top course “as a giant obstacle course up in the trees that provides a really unique outdoor experience,” D'Agostino said.
The course will be between Pierce Mill Road and the tennis courts to the east of the boathouse, part of which will be converted into a restaurant and bar by the owners of South Side-based Over The Bar Bicycle Cafe. The bar and restaurant are still in the planning stages, according to county officials.
“We're very excited about these projects,” said Andrew Baechle, the county's park director. “They're not only a welcome addition to North Park that we believe will draw people from outside the county, they are part of the effort to create public-private partnerships to improve our parks.”
The zipline course will be from 35 to 50 feet off the ground and feature 35 obstacles that include rope bridges, Tarzan swings, trapezes and five ziplines, D'Agostino said.
“So if a person is more adventurous, they can take a more difficult route, or if they want to, they can stick with something a little easier,” he said.
“We've even had a 92-year-old grandmother go through the course at one of our other locations,” he said. The company operates Go Ape courses in Williamsburg, Va., Rockville, Md., and Indianapolis, Ind.
A “vision team” assembled by Fitzgerald to improve the county parks system recommended the addition of the tree-top adventure course and the restaurant.
While the county has been able to add recreational features, such as snow tubing in Boyce Park and a BMX bicycle track in South Park, finances limit the ability to do more, Baechle said.
“Allegheny County has over 12,000 acres of park land — it is a huge amount, and we are barely able to scratch the surface of opportunities with our own staff,” said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive.
“Partnering with others to offer commercial enterprises like restaurants or zip lines, or other specialized operations, allows us to extend our offerings and provide additional features that our residents and visitors alike can enjoy,” Fitzgerald said.
Children from 10 to 17 would pay $35 to use the course and people 18 and older would pay $55. Completion of the course takes between 2 and 3 hours, including a 30-minute training session. Hours and days of operation will vary by season and the weather.
Go Ape has a five-year contract with the county, which will receive $20,000 in rent the first year and $40,500 by the last year, D'Agostino said. The company will build and operate the course, provide liability insurance, and handle marketing and promotion.
Under the agreement, the county will get $36,000 in rent the first year and $60,000 by the end of the fifth year. Rent for the remaining five years will be $69,000.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh airport improvements noted as CEO tries to expand activity
- Developers share their vision for Garden Theater block on North Side
- Downtown Macy’s building to lose OASIS to closer parent organization
- Volunteer tutors boost adult literacy in Allegheny County
- National Night Out ‘a start’ for violence-prone Homewood
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s banding program a labor of love for avian expert
- Roman Catholic Church in midst of culture clash over gays
- 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
- Allegheny County Council candidates chosen for District 11 ballot
- East Liberty man arrested in connection with Larimer shooting
- Newsmaker: Harry J. Gruener