by Amie Sites
France Park superintendent Lucas Beach said affordable, health-conscious activities are planned for the park in 2013.
Beach said a zipline, expected to be completed in late spring or early summer, will be built in the southeast corner of the park. It will be built on the highest point of the 100-foot cliffs of the northeast corner and will run diagonally across the lake, ending near the beach on the northwest end.
In anticipation of the zipline, a build and design bid for the construction of it will be accepted until noon Jan. 7. Beach said the builder and designer need to be Association of Challenge Course Technology Certified. He said he has been researching the national organization and it delivers regulations to be certified and create safe design. Bids should be sealed and sent to the auditor’s office, 200 Court Park, room 105, Logansport.
He said there will be some weight and height limits for harnesses to fit correctly.
“We’re wanting to develop it to the best to be for almost all ages,” Beach said. “Riders will have the opportunity to be relaxed and wait for harnesses on the beach. They can grab the harnesses as they arrive and have a nice, easy hike to the beginning of the zipline.”
Beach said he doesn’t know how much the fee for riding the zipline but it will “be a small, fair price and is not going to be outlandish.”
“Once we get approved for bids, we can start from there, under advisement from commissioners,” Beach said. “This is not a typical zipline project. This is going to be a unique aspect where people can do something new.”
In addition to the zipline, new single-track mountain bike trails have been added.
“I’ve received an unbelievable amount of positive responses to the trails,” Beach said. “What people are happy about is we’re not just talking about change. People have the ability to come see it firsthand.”
Beach said people have wanted changes in the park for the last 10 years and now people are happy to see it’s happening.
Brian Holzhausen, president and director of D.IN.O., or Do INdiana Off-road, has recently got involved in the trails and has made two trips to France Park in the last month. D.IN.O is the largest producer of cycling and off road events, including trail running and mountain biking.
Holzhausen described the trails as unique. He said there are about five to seven miles of trails and a person could have an easy ride, yet those who are experienced could find harder trails.
“Lucas is working to make the area competitive with other properties and he has a friendly attitude toward people coming in,” Holzhausen said. “He is focusing on the quality of work being done.”
Staff at France Park are building the mountain bike trails themselves. Holzhausen said he went up to see the trails Tuesday and they were doing a nice job. Holzhausen said the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association is going to promote one or two trail days, where people in the area can come and help build trails. He said “the mountain bike community is really good at building areas they plan to use.”
“A lot of people, including Logansport residents, don’t realize the special place France Park is,” Holzhausen said. “It could be used to bring outsiders in and give healthy opportunities to run, walk, ride bikes, swim and have great, outdoor exercise.”
Beach said he is trying to promote this type of heart-healthy recreation.
“A lot of people and schools are promoting healthy lifestyles. We want to promote that here too,” Beach said. “We also want to zone in on the affordable recreation avenue. We want to keep creating these new, exciting activities, but we want to keep them nature and park based.”
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.