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Treetop Adventure Course Coming To Forest Preserves

Cook County residents and visitors will have the chance to see the forest from new heights this summer, thanks to a new partnership between the Forest Preserves of Cook County and Go Ape, the nation's premier treetop adventure course company.

The course will be a seven-acre, two- to three-hour trek through the forest canopy using rope ladders, Tarzan swings, five zip lines, and more than 40 other challenging and fun obstacles situated more than 40 feet in the air. All Go Ape courses are designed to allow for a wide variety of skill levels.

The course is being built through a public-private partnership, with a 100% capital investment from Go Ape to build and operate the course. As part of the agreement, Go Ape will share a portion of all revenues derived from ticket sales with the Preserves, with no public dollars being spent on building, maintaining or operating the course.

The course at Bemis Woods (1100 Ogden Avenue, in Westchester) is the first course of its kind in Cook County open to the public, and Go Ape's 15th course in the United States. Construction begins this spring, with the opening date this summer to be announced.

Additionally, Go Ape Treetop Adventure courses support the local environment and communities in which they are based by taking part in clean-ups, invasive plant removal, and by donating free and discounted tickets to underserved and special needs groups. Last year, Go Ape donated more than $1.2 million in free and reduced-price tickets to charities, community groups and guests.

Go Ape Treetop courses offer a first-hand forest ecosystem experience, while also providing exercise, team building and personal confidence building skills. Participants gain access to forest canopies in a low-impact way, allowing them to experience and gain an appreciation for the forest's richly diverse ecosystem.

Following the Forest Preserves' three-year Centennial Celebration, which concluded in 2015, the organization has been looking ahead to the next century by developing new ways to engage residents of Cook County. The Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is part of the Forest Preserves' commitment to enhancing available amenities and programming opportunities, and adding new recreation options. Other recent enhancements include opening five new and revitalized campgrounds, expanding trails, and launching bike rentals with more to come.

Currently, the Forest Preserves manages nearly 70,000 acres of public open land, and offers numerous amenities including nearly 300 picnic groves, three aquatic centers, model airplane flying fields and model boats areas, boat rentals and launches, snowmobile areas and groomed cross-country ski trails, as well as hundreds of low-cost or free educational programs.


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Posted on May 4, 2016

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