Aerial rope course approved for North Lake Tahoe park
November 2, 2015
TAHOE VISTA, Calif. — The offerings at the North Tahoe Regional Park will soon be elevated from the traditional activities of hiking, softball and disc golf to include an experience in the trees.
In a 5-0 vote earlier this month, the North Tahoe Public Utility District board of directors gave district leader Duane Whitelaw the authority to execute an agreement to bring an aerial adventure-based rope course to the Tahoe Vista park.
"These are really popular recreational activities," Whitelaw said, NTPUD interim general manager/CEO. "We feel fortunate to get on the ground floor."
The course will be reminiscent of Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park at Granlibakken Tahoe in Tahoe City, featuring platforms either near or affixed to trees connected by various types of bridges and zip lines.
Trained harnessed participants will be able to zip, walk and maneuver their way through course, which will offer challenge courses and a less physically demanding course dubbed "Tour of the Trees."
Adding a dedicated zip line course is being considered, with potential locations being evaluated to ensure placement won't conflict with other park uses, Whitelaw said.
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Within the park at 6600 Donner Road in Tahoe Vista, the adventure course is proposed between the tennis courts and the Thomas Llewellyn Scout Area, he said.
While the adventure course will be on NTPUD property, its construction, operation and maintenance will be the responsibility of North Tahoe Adventures.
The size of the aerial course has yet to be determined and will depend on tree layout and health, said Jesse Desens, CEO of Headwall Corporation, parent company of North Tahoe Adventures.
Whitelaw added: "There will still be some more finalizing of the (course) layout to ensure there is no interference with what else is going on the park."
The course could open as early as June 2016, with sessions starting 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday during the summer, and weekends and holiday periods during the fall, winter and spring, Desens said.
Adult patrons will likely be charged between $50 to $55, while children 12 to 5 years old will cost $40 per session, which averages 2-plus hours, Desens said. Those under 5 years old cannot participate.
Discounts will be afforded to NTPUD residents who have proof of residence, and to school groups, Whitelaw said.
According to a draft concessionaire services agreement, Headwall Corporation will provide the NTPUD a share of its revenue from the adventure course.
Fees paid to the district will either be a minimum guaranteed amount, or percentages of gross revenue, whichever is greater.
"We think this is going to be a great revenue generator for the PUD, but also what we think is a terrific new amenity to the park for both locals and visitors," Whitelaw said.
In addition, the PUD will be forwarded a $5 fee charged to each course patron — with exception to select groups approved by the district — to offset increased maintenance and repairs anticipated for the Regional Park with adventure course-related visitation.
Meanwhile, the $5 vehicle parking fee for the Regional Park — which funds park maintenance — will be waived with proof of payment to the adventure course, Whitelaw said.
Those with a North Tahoe Resident's Benefit Sticker will still be exempt from the park's parking fee, but will have to pay the $5 maintenance impact fee if a patron of the adventure course, he added.
Signing of the contract is forthcoming, Whitelaw said last week.
According to the draft agreement, the contract will be for a seven-year term, with two, five-year extension options.
Each party will have the ability to terminate the agreement without penalty under certain scenarios.
North Tahoe Adventures also operates Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park and Squaw Valley Adventure Center.