Next spring, visitors to Blue Jay Point County Park should be able to elevate their walk in the woods to a trip through the treetops – when a private company opens “Go Ape,” a canopy adventure.
At its regular meeting on Monday, the Wake County Board of Commissioners approved a 10-year agreement with Adventure Forest LLC which will develop a course similar to the 28 enterprises Go Ape operates in the United Kingdom and the seven it has in the U.S.
According to the company, Go Ape is a two- to three-hour outdoor experience in which participants navigate the treetops using zip lines and rope swings. The company first approached the county about setting up a course in early 2011, and commissioners gave parks and recreation staff approval to develop a lease agreement in March 2013.
It’s been a complicated process; Blue Jay Point County Park, adjacent to Falls Lake, is on land that belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, leased to the state and sub-leased to the county. The Corps and the state have approved the proposal.
Dan D’Agostino of Go Ape said the company would like to begin construction of the course in December and have it open by next spring.
Go Ape will pay to develop and staff the course, and will charge $35 to $55 per visitor. Parks and Recreation Director Chris Snow told the board that the more money the company makes, the larger the share of its revenues it will pay to the county, ranging from 3 percent if 15,000 people use the course each year, to 8 percent if 31,111 people use it.
During the meeting, commissioners also got an update on how the county has prepared for the outbreak of an illness such as Ebola: potentially fatal and spread through contact with body fluids.
Sue Lynn Ledford, the county’s health director, and Brent Myers, the emergency medical services director, told the board the county has worked with local, state and federal government agencies, as well as area hospitals and universities, to develop a step-by-step response in the event of a suspected case of Ebola or similar illness.
If the person shows up at one of the hospitals or at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, each facility has a plan for where the person would be taken to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease.
Last week, the county’s emergency medical dispatch center began asking those who call 911 for help two new questions:
Has the patient traveled to Africa in the past 21 days?
Does the patient have a temperature of more than 101.5 degrees?
If the response indicates the patient is at risk for exposure to Ebola, the county has a special procedure to take the person to a hospital while limiting the number of emergency medical personnel involved.
The county’s plan includes details about how suspected Ebola patients are to be treated inside the ambulance, the mask and other protective gear that medical personnel should wear and how to seal off the ambulance.