Bays Mountain adds ropes courses to attractions with minimal impact on park

Carmen Musick • Mar 26, 2011 at 1:48 AM

Visitors to Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium may notice a few changes the next time they visit the city’s 3,500-acre nature preserve. But those who liked the park just the way it was, without the new attractions, won’t be disappointed either.Park officials are busily preparing for the public debut of the Adventure Education and Team Building Project, which consists of a traditional low ropes course and a high ropes Odyssey course, and are eager to open the attractions to park guests looking for adventure on the mountain. But they’re also quick to point out that those guests who come to enjoy a more tranquil walk in the woods still have 3,400 acres all their own to explore.“If you go back to the original plans for the park, it was decided that there was a 100-acre area that can be used for development. That area includes the nature center, the herpetarium and animal habitats, the amphitheater and Farmstead Museum. All of those things lie within that boundary, as do the new attractions,” said senior naturalist Fred Hilton.“Other than the trails, the only thing we do any development in is within those boundaries. Anything outside that boundary, it’s our mission to preserve as naturally as possible,” he added.Taking that commitment even one step further, Hilton and volunteer coordinator Rob Cole said, park officials also strive to protect the natural setting within those 100 “developed” acres by choosing natural products whenever possible and making strategic decisions about how to minimize the impact on the natural landscape.Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.

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