A Wild Ride

by Kelly Choate on August 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

There’s a new way to explore the Wilds Conservation Center – and it’s giving visitors a birds-eye view.

It’s hard to believe that these 10,000 acres of rolling hills used to be a coal mine.

"In the 70s, this was a moonscape.  There was nothing here," said Chief Operations Officer Rob McBurney.

The Wilds Conservation Center has undergone quite a facelift since then.  McBurney said the newest addition is a zipline safari tour – a series of ten ziplines winding through the trees and over watering holes.

"It’s scary – thinking about hanging off of a wire, running through you don’t know what," said McBurney.

Scary, but safe.  Co-owner of Wild Zipline Safari Julieann Eckel said safety is the top priority.

"When you’re being transferred, you’re always clipped in at all times on the course," said Eckel.

"Right now, we’re about to zipline almost 80 feet above the water at speeds of about 40 miles per hour.  It’s a great way to see the park from a different perspective.  Here we go!"

"By adding to the visitor experience, it gets more people here to learn more about the science that we’re doing behind the scenes," said McBurney.

Bart and Renee Lehman made the 80 mile trip from Powhatan Point, Ohio.

"It’s our anniversary, and we came to get some relaxation and see the wildlife," said Bart.

And there was plenty of wildlife to see – from deer grazing in the open fields to swans basking in the sunlight.

"It’s beautiful," said Renee.  "You can’t even describe it.  You have to come and check it out."