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Treetop Adventure Course Considered for Wissahickon Park

The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation is considering building a tree top obstacle course in Wissahickon Park.

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department is considering building a Treetop Adventure Course in the Wissahickon Valley Park as a way to “educate youth about forest ecosystem and provide healthy outdoor recreation.”

Preliminary estimates put the annual income for such a course between $40,000-$50,000 annually based on what similar courses in other cities make.

The course would consist of a series of walks, zip lines and other apparatus through the tree canopy.

The construction of the course would be environmentally conscious, the Parks and Recreation Department says, and a new parking gravel parking lot would be built on the west side of Wigard Avenue near Henry Avenue adjacent to the course.

The Parks and Recreation Department estimates that the course could host around 150 participants in a day, with “sessions” that allow 14 to 15 people on the course at a time.

Parks and Recreation estimates that the course would take two to three hours to complete, and the average price for admission will range from $35-55.

The Parks and Recreation Department promises that the course will not be built over existing trails, and that it won’t create a precedent for more commercial activities at park locations.

The Parks and Recreation Department hopes to hold a town hall meeting with all the stakeholders at the end of March.

Carmen March 19, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Carmen One of the things that came up at the March 4 meeting was that this site had been previously proposed for developement as an environmental center. It was to have a 4 story glass and concrete modern building on the site. The same questions of parking, restrooms and loss of habitat as well as community opposition that could not be answered, led to the withdrawal of the proposal. The point is that putting in enough parking and constructing drainage or revamping the site to account for santitaion for 250 people per day would have a larger impact than just the 5-10 acres that would have to be enclosed behind the fence for the site. Developemnt in this area would effectively cut the entire west side of the Wissahickon Valley in half since the site is mid way of the stream and at the peak of the valley created by the Wissahickon. There have been other areas high on the side of the stream where parking lots have been paved and the run off has created erosion that has effectively closed trails. The trail that would be impacted is below the site and once it is compromised, it would be difficult to correct.
robinhood March 19, 2013 at 02:17 PM
what does not add up is only 15 people on the course at a time. If it takes three hours to complete the course, that means 15 people X 3 hours = 60 people at 12 hours. If you have a 150 people and only 15 on course at a time that comes to 450 hours. So as I see it they have to have 15 people up at every station to not just 15 on the course at a time. So if there are lets say 6 stations they could have 6x15= 90 people up at a time. Who's kidding who here?
Lin Morris March 27, 2013 at 01:46 PM
The area already has an educational "tree adventure" nearby at Morris Arboretum, called "Out on a Limb" Also in the area, PA Audubon Society and Outward Bound's planned nature center along the Water Dept's unused (and currently inaccessible to the public) reservoir. Why duplicate their efforts?
Denise April 12, 2013 at 05:18 PM
If you are opposed to having this project diminish our park, please support the newly formed "Alliance for Preservation of the Wissahickon" by visiting apowblog.org AND please 'LIKE' the FB page at "Save WIssahickon Park". It is the initial project of the group to stop the development of the zipline/treetop adventure course at Wigard and HEnry Ave. Thank you for being a part of the solution!
Diane Garvey April 24, 2013 at 09:03 PM
The Q&A from parks and rec said 15 people per half hour....I created a mathematical model and find that 49 parking places will be needed. So what are they going to do? take over the horse pasture, or send the overflow cars to the roxborough neighborhood.

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