MORGANTOWN – Zipping through trees on steel cables at 25-30 miles per hour sounds like an activity geared more to thrill-seekers than academicians.
But in creating a zipline canopy tour, West Virginia University has built a facility that’s both thought-provoking and adrenaline-inducing.
The tour, a network of four ziplines connected to trees at WVU’s Adventure WV course in the WVU Research Forest, is the first of its kind owned and operated at a university.
A joint project of Adventure WV, the WVU Division of Forestry & Natural Resources and Bonsai Design, a private company that builds sustainable, custom-designed zipline courses. WVU’s tour also includes an aerial bridge, and a tandem rappel station to exit the course.
The Adventure WV tour will be used to train students and others who may be interested in outdoor adventure careers, create opportunities for research and provide fun educational experiences for the entire WVU community. The course is also directly targeted to prepare volunteers for the Summit Bechtel Reserve, a newly built Boy Scouts Camp near Beckley, site of the 2013 Jamboree from July 15-24.
“This facility is an educational facility,” said Greg Corio, director of Adventure WV. “The University Forest is an educational resource for students, faculty and staff at WVU.
“Along with career opportunities and opportunities like training to help at the Boy Scout course, there’s a growing need to get young people outside, away from computer screens. Here they can form some great bonds with other students and realize we have a lot of resources as a University.”
Ziplining is the fast-growing adventure activity, according to Corio because, it’s “accessible for everybody. It doesn’t really matter your age as long willing to take a step off that platform anybody can do it.”
To see a video of WVU’s new zipline course, visit http://youtu.be/3ZG2mXoYxFQ .