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Go Ape! considers Whitnall Park in Greendale for new ropes course

This promotional photo from Go Ape! shows an example of a platform used in one of the company’s ropes courses.

This promotional photo from Go Ape! shows an example of a platform used in one of the company’s ropes courses. Photo By Go Ape!/Submitted photo

May 6, 2014

Greendale — Milwaukee County Parks is interested in bringing a recreational ropes course to Whitnall Park.

A public information meeting was held April 15 to introduce residents to Go Ape!, the largest ropes course operator in the world.

Go Ape provides a "Treetop Adventure Course" that uses ziplines, rope ladders and other obstacles to navigate two to three acres of forest canopy.

Milwaukee County Parks first became interested in a Milwaukee ropes course after attending a trade show that looked at recreational opportunities for parks, said Susie Devcich, chief of Recreation and Business Development.

"We went and looked at many different parks with Go Ape!," Devcich said. "We wanted to make sure the location would be a good fit and not harmful to the environment. … Staff looked at Whitnall Park and thought it would be a very good area for (the course) to be in."

Go Ape! rope courses are constructed to ensure the health of the trees and are annually inspected by independent arborists. Go Ape! has six courses in North America and 28 in the United Kingdom. Of its 850 course platforms, no trees have been negatively impacted, the company reported.

"The most important part for us is to ensure safety of the environment," said Chris Swallows, director of Business Development for Go Ape! "We always want to be good stewards of the park and the community. … We're very excited about working with Milwaukee County."

Sessions, which last between two and three hours, are limited to 14 people and are capped every half hour on weekends and hourly on weekends. Unauthorized access on the course is prohibited.

If the county receives approval from the state and the village of Greendale, the ropes course could be operational by March of 2015, Swallows said.

Both Swallows and Devcich reported favorable feedback from residents who attended the information meeting.

"Given its location, operation and the county's input, it looks like (the course) would something feasible with that area," said Greendale Village Manager Todd Michaels. "We're pretty comfortable with it being there."

"We're very excited to have this opportunity," Devcich said. "I believe the potential of this is great and having it in our county will show what Milwaukee County parks have to offer."

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