Photo Gallery | Ramblewild aerial adventure park
LANESBOROUGH -- Tree-hugging capitalism is about to get a shot in the arm when Ramblewild, a brand-new aerial adventure park, opens June 21.
"We wanted to create an experience that is surreal and larger-than-life," said Tim Gallagher, CEO of Ramblewild.
At Ramblewild, adventurers can ride a saddle across a river gorge, or ride a snowboard on a zip line through a forest canopy. They will travel through the woods at eye level with the birds and squirrels and never touch the ground.
After an expenditure of well more than a million dollars, the adventure park is nearly complete.
On Monday, students from Reid Middle School in Pittsfield went through the course.
According to eighth-grade teacher Tricia Bronson, some of her students were a bit apprehensive at first. "But now they're having more fun than any of them anticipated, and they want to come back," she said.
Bronson noted that many of her students don't get to spend much time in the wild. "If we can hook them on nature, maybe they'll want to spend more time in the forest," she said.
Nicole St. Jean, 15, is an eighth-grader at Reid, and she had a wonderful time. "It was the best fun I ever had," she said. "I always said I was afraid of zip lines, but now I'm not."
One feature of the park is the 200-foot-long suspension bridge over a gorge that connects adventurers with another section of the aerial course.
The bridge and installation cost upward of $200,000, Gallagher said.
The park is actually only part of the effort to turn the property into a sustainable forest venture by owner Feronia Forests. Part of the land is leased to the owner of the Berkshire Wind turbines on Brodie Mountain. Plans are under way for a large solar panel installation adjacent to part of the turbine site, and there is a sugarbush operation that encompasses 110 acres with 7,500 taps.
Part of the concept also calls for educational tours of the forest to introduce students to the power generation and maple syrup production.
"We're trying to spread the word that the forest has things it can give us, that it is in our best interest to spare every tree that we can," Gallagher said. "We see the forest as an asset, so we take that stewardship very seriously."
There is also a nonprofit fund, the Feronia Forest Fund, that was created and exists to fund trips for school children who might otherwise never have the opportunity to visit the forest.
"The goal is that every kid has the opportunity to come out and spend time in the forest, regardless of background or financial ability," Gallagher said.
The three-hour admission ticket costs $69 for adults, $62 for teens and $56 for children.
"I don't know of any other park that has the philosophy and the infrastructure that we have here," Gallagher said. "When you walk away from Ramblewild, you walk away with an experience."
To reach Scott Stafford:
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