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Zipline Adventure Park Proposed for Woodinville, Residents Say No

A new zipline adventure park is proposed for Gold Creek County Park in Hollywood Hill, but residents are already starting a petition drive to stop the development.

 

Update: April 129 p.m., Scott Chreist sent the following to Patch to clarify horse adaptability to the presence of ziplines and how much the county could receive in revenue if the project is approved. The county could receive as much as $160,000 annually from the project. He added that they expect about 40,000 visitors to the zipline park, not all the tourists that come to Woodinville. Regarding the compatibility of equestrians and ziplines, Chreist wrote, "Through training, familiarization, and public education the facilities we'd spoken with said that their horses had adapted well to the zipline operations. 

Will Gold Creek Park become Woodinville’s own Ewok village or will it remain a rural, undeveloped open space in Hollywood Hill?

That is the question that King County will need to answer as it moves forward with plans to allow a local adventure park operator to create a zipline facility at the 38-acre site that houses the Boys and Girls Club in Woodinville.

Gravityworks LLC, the same folks that have operated the Adventura rope course next to Redhook Brewery for the past decade, are hoping to build a state-of-the-art zipline adventure in the heavily wooded park, aiming to attract some the 350,000 tourists that come to Woodinville for the wineries every year, as well as locals.

The proposed adventure park (see PDF) would include 12 ziplines, a lodge (the old Boys and Girls Club building would be remodeled) and gift shop, maintenance building, and a shuttle service from at least two winery locations, according to Scott Chreist, co-owner of Gravityworks and company director of Adventura.

Even before a formal plan for the zipline adventure park has been sent to the county for approval, residents of Hollywood Hill have formed a group and started a petition to stop the development. The Preserve Gold Creek Park group is worried that development of the park will mean the loss of an urban rarity: a nature reserve inside a second growth forest that has been left alone long enough to begin to exhibit mature forest characteristics, as described by residents.

“It’s all about perspective isn’t it?” said Valentina Giovannetti, Hollywood Hill resident and organizer of the Preserve Gold Creek Park group. “Someone in the Parks Department views the unspoiled wildness of Gold Creek Park and sees an opportunity to partner with a commercial operation to build an adventure park with ziplines crisscrossing its entire 38 acres of forested hills and valleys in the heart of King County. ... They smell welcome income from licensing the park to outfitters who will package groups of excitement-seekers.”

The opposition group has a Facebook page and has started an online petition to stop the development of Gold Creek Park, citing, among other concerns, the effect noise would have on equestrians using the trails if the zipline plan goes forward.

The proposed adventure park is part of the King County Parks Department’s business plan “to cultivate strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partner(s) to enhance park amenities for King County residents while leveraging taxpayers' dollars.” Partnership between the Parks Department and private or nonprofit organizations was started in 2002 in an effort to relieve the county of some of the costs of operating and maintaining the 250,000-acre parks system, according to the county.

Chreist said his company looked at many parks in King County and settled on Gold Creek because of its proximity to Woodinville’s Tourist District and the success at operating the rope course and adventure park next to Redhook. He estimates the county would receive about $160,000 in revenue from the for-profit zipline venture.

Zipline adventure parks are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, with most parks located in the East and Southeast. Put the phrase “zipline tree canopy” in Google and you’ll get thousands of hits describing zipline tours across the globe.

Chreist said he and his partner, Scott Andrews (who operates a zipline in Bellevue), understand people’s concerns about the plans for Gold Creek being compatible with horseback riders and hikers, but added that those issues have been overcome in developments elsewhere in the nation.

“We’re two local guys wanting to build a new business in Woodinville, we’re not trying to pull a fast one on anybody,” he said

Mark Moulton April 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Let me get this straight - a residential neighborhood of acre plus lots more than a mile from commercial zoning is "no different than 1 acre tracts in the City"? My wife and I spent years looking for and investing in the quiet surroundings we live in now to learn that a governmental entity could approve a 40,000 visitor per year business in a park we directly border?? I try to respect a variety of opinions but frankly that's one of the dumbest remarks I can recall.
Local Guy April 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
A "gift shop"... In Gold Creek Park... 10s of thousands of cars... In Gold Creek Park... and a zip line too... In Gold Creek Park... I enjoyed a pack of three wild coyotes strolling through my yard this morning. And my bird sanctuary is singing and bustling, you should have seen the eagle that perched in the one of the Douglas Firs yesterday only 60 feet overhead. I hear the neighbor's rooster crowing as I type (haven't heard the other neighbor's donkey bray yet this morning though...). This is HH Edwin. And yes, we think it worthwhile to fight to preserve it's nature that others take for granted, ignore and place no value on.
localrider April 13, 2012 at 09:12 PM
I regularly ride on the trails in GCP and encounter many other people, walkers, bicyclists, people with dogs and kids. I cannot imagine how the current users can benefit from a commercialization of this wonderful park. This park is too important to all of us to let it be ruined by turning it into an amusement park! Keep it natural. Suzy
Lori Levite April 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
I am happy to let Scott Chreist borrow my horse and be the first rider in the park after they install the ziplines! I own a horse boarding stables up on the hill. Most of my boarders come to me because of the trail access up here. Are they going to compensate us for the loss of our business?
Donald Goodman April 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Fear not good neighbors of Gold Creek Park! As with any responsible commercial operation I am certain King County Parks and their business partners Gravityworks will spring forward to compensate you for your considerable loss of property value, privacy and solitude. How could they possibly do otherwise???
Amanda Madorno April 14, 2012 at 12:21 AM
And then there's the additional liabilty of what happens when an equestrian has a serious accident in the park because of zip liners.
Amanda Madorno April 14, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Mr. Chreist obviously has little/no horse experience, and even less with the behavior of enthusiasts who would use the zip lines, if he actually believes that 'through training, familiarization, and public education' the park would be safe for equestrians. He just wants to open his business and make money. Of course he'd find information to serves his purpose, sort of like the drug companies that do ‘independent testing’ before they put a new drug on the market. I ride regularly on urban trails in this community, including Gold Creek Park. Let me tell you; it's not just a matter of horse training. There are days when it takes alot more than training, education and familiarization to make your way safely along trails that are supposed to be for horses, too. Even tho people know that their dog should be on leash; even tho they know to slow down when approaching a horse on a bike or skateboard, they don’t. They let their dogs rush your horse while they cry ‘Oh, he likes horses!’ They blast past you going 40+ mph because they want to go down that hill fast, thank you very much! That they may leave you half dead on the gravel doesn’t concern them. There is no amount of training, education or familiarization that offsets the self-centered ignorance of those who feel they have the 'priority right' to be there. And once they've scared your horse out from under you, they sure won't get off their zip line and help you if you get injured.
Amanda Madorno April 14, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Well said! If it was King County Council proposing to destroy Gold Creek Park with zip line usage, at least I'd understand it. After all, they are the lily-bellied idiots who let Hancock Properties sell hundreds of acres to a wireless communication mogul who promptly used mounted patrols and shotguns to root out the recreationalists who had used & maintained the trails there for years. He then proceeded to burst the eardrums and scare the beejeesus out of livestock, pets and people who live along the SVT Trail by using his new property for target shooting with high powered rifles. Now, KCC is letting Hancock Properties charge $75/year usage fees for anyone who wants to ride on or use the remaining trails. All this on land that KCC sold to Hancock for a steal of a deal, with the understanding that taxpayers would have recreational access. Riiiight… It honestly floors me that that Parks employees could even enterain the notion that zip lines in Gold Creek Park is anything but destruction of the environment. What do they think will happen to the trillium clusters and pileated woodpeckers with 40,000 people crushing everything? They throw out these numbers like we're supposed to be grateful. Just what we wanted: 40,000 destroying one of a handful of remaining semi-wild places. If Parks employees join the ranks of KCC members in making decisions like this, we're in trouble. All of our parks are in grave danger!
Amanda Madorno April 14, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I don't live in HH and I vehemently oppose this idea. Preserving semi-wild places in urban areas is not about single neighborhoods - it's about sustainable communities. And the idea that horses are more destructive to the environment than 40,000 people is ridiculous.
Marcy B April 14, 2012 at 03:57 AM
@Todd Andrew....There may be plenty of places to hike but not very many places to ride a horse. This small gem of a park provides access to many other trails. From Gold Creek Park one can horseback ride to the Tolt Pipeline, Farrell McWhirter Park, The Redmond Watershed, Marymoor Park and Bridle Trails. I live on Hollywood Hill in a tiny 2 bedroom home and pay high property taxes just for this access. Ziplines will cause major fright in a horse (prey animal). The risk would be too great to ride a horse in Gold Creek Park if ziplines were in use. The park has been an equestrian/pedestrian park for 40+ years. The trails were built by local equestrians. The park has been maintained by the Hollywood Hill Saddle Club through King County Parks Adopt Program. After caring for the park with little to no help needed from the county they now want to add a most inappropriate use in the form of ziplines. The research from Gravity Works with regard to riding horses under ziplines is flawed. The only groups mentioned by Gravity Works who now run horses w/zips are rental horse outfitters. Rental horses are specially chosen for their laid back nature and would live with the zips day in day out. This would not be the case in Gold Creek. Many of the horses ridden in the park are high spirited competion horses or "naughty ponies" looking for a reason to dump the child on their back and run home. These are not rental horses. Huge risk & even bigger liability for the county.
Marcy B April 14, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Equestrians understand there are inherent risks to riding horses. We also know when we have been put in harms way from foolishness i.e. fireworks, attack of a dog, ziplines. Ask yourself if, you as a taxpayer, are willing to cover the expense of liability in case of serious injury to horse or rider. Remember this is not just potential injury to rider but also equine or even a hiker who may be in jeopardy due to a frantic horse fleeing from his greatest fear, attack from overhead.
Marcy B April 14, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Could not agree with you more Donald. And of course equestrians and Hollywood Hill residents will be compensated for the loss of the park they built and maintain.
Valentina Giovannetti April 14, 2012 at 07:44 AM
How is it that King County is able to put a commercial business in Gold Creek Park? Don't they have to follow the the same rules for zoning like we do? Has anyone checked to see how this is even possible? It just goes to show, that government can do whatever the hell they want to do, and nothing we say can change what they decide, regardless of who this is going to affect. Thanks King County for doing whats best for residents in Woodinville....NOT!
Bob Martinek April 14, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Todd, you nailed it!
Donald Goodman April 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Todd & Bob - A lot of people would say the same about putting in a shooting range in this location. "Hey -We just want to have some fun!" Nobody is saying that Zip Line adventures aren't fun, or that shooting ranges aren't fun. But they need to be located in the right areas and not take away a natural resource that is used by the overall community. I was in the park this morning. It was a good hike,and I saw 4 groups of riders enjoying a beautiful day. Perhaps Gravity Works can scale back their proposal to only use the area above the lodge so that the rest of the park can be used by all?
Kat Stremlau April 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM
The first thing I thought of when I heard of this was just how loud *I* screamed when zipping through the lines at Whistler, BC. I live up the street from the proposed site and I have to say, I wouldn't look forward to hearing that echoing through the valley! I'm hesitant to jump on anyone's bandwagon on this one. I certainly need more info. I refuse to vilify the proposers...King County has ASKED for-profit businesses to come up with revenue generating ideas for spaces and I won't fault the company for doing just that. I would prefer we appeal to them through the lenses of educating them on the existing use of the trails as a quiet, tranquil spot and preserving the integrity of the space at large.
Kim Bremen April 15, 2012 at 03:47 AM
I just googled horse riding deaths per year and came up with a whopping 217!!! No info on zip line deaths per year but I'm willing to bet it's quite a bit less....
Kim Bremen April 15, 2012 at 03:53 AM
I have spent alot of time at Gold Creek and frankly I'm apalled at the amount of horse droppings littering the area! It's rude and makes the park uninhabitable for others, a zipline would be a welcome change with less enviromental impact on every level.
J. Leigh April 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM
J. Leigh "Regarding the compatibility of equestrians and ziplines, Chreist wrote, "Through training, familiarization, and public education the facilities we'd spoken with said that their horses had adapted well to the zipline operations." There are no expressed facts here to support the proposition. If Mr. Chreist contacted so many (2?) "Facilities" to make this bold statement, where are these mysterious places? What did they do to deaden their horses to the screaming people over horse experience. How long did it take? Were these riding stables where people rent by the hour and therefore had a confined area to wear out the horse to the irradic din?. Did he personally experience a ride on an un "Trained" horse? Would he? And just what questions did he ask - notorious surveys and the results are worse than no answer. Let's see some real data Scott. To my knowledge he has never said he was a horseman, and if he had been he'd know you don't yell and scream around horses from the ground, much less from the air. Even children know this rule, if sometimes forgetting it.
Kat Stremlau April 15, 2012 at 05:09 PM
These are great points. I'd appreciate it if one of you experienced horse handlers could write a blog post or contact Annie with an article about horse etiquette for those of us who are not so familiar with what do so when encountering a rider (on the trail, passing in a car, wanting to ask for a pet, etc...)
John Snow April 15, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I was involved with the rifle range across the valley several years ago when the neighbors wanted to stop its existence. However, in that case the range was there before the neighborhood. This zipline proposal is exactly the opposite situation. The neighborhood is there now. Surely the current residents should be able to keep their neighborhood quiet, and surely KC Parks must have some facility better suited for this proposal.
Bob Martinek April 16, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I used that shooting range back when I was in high school 66', amazed and gratified that it is still there.
J. Leigh April 17, 2012 at 03:08 PM
While not comprehensive, here are some tips. Common Sense. First, you are new and possibly a surprise to the horse. Stop. Ask the rider how to proceed as they alone know the most about their horse's reactions. In a car Slow Down and widen your dstance between you and the horse if you can. Do Not Honk. The rider and horse can probably hear you behind them. And again think from the horse's point of view regarding a large car racing passed him, spraying gravel, what ever, and making lots of noise. Would you want that? Wanting to ask for a pet is O.K. if the person is just wallking along or standing holding their horse. Just ask politely. If the horse is a biter or likely to do something that's a problem the rider will say no. But ask before you approach.
Denise April 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM
We live within walking distance of GCP. This resident says "yes" to a zipline park. Wheeeeeeee!
PersonWhoCares April 24, 2012 at 03:07 AM
It is not just about the horses! They want to boar holes into trees for zip lines, which will destroy and eventually kill the tree! Also, think about the people! The plans are to put zip line starting points up to 50 feet away from peoples back porches! And have people running them from 8 to 5, 7 days a week! CRAZY! The horses matter as well. I take riding lessons at a place near Gold Creek, and the noise and people wizzing by at 50 MPH would make my horse freak out and go crazy! NOT FUN! And the same thing would be happening to every other person taking lessons where I do AND the people who just want to go for a nice, quiet ride in the park! Think about it! Gold Creek is a place of beauty and splendor, and all the zip lines would do would destroy this wonder of nature!
PersonWhoCares April 24, 2012 at 03:22 AM
You forgot about the nature, beauty, wildlife, and trails that the park has so much of. It would be destroying the park to put in a zip line. Zip lines are fun, but not here! Gold Creek just is not the right place for it. I would recomend looking up other zip lines near you if you want to have that fun. Because, as much damage as they can do in Gold Creek, they really ARE wheeeeeeeeeeee! in places that can support them.
Ann Pasley April 28, 2012 at 04:08 AM
It seems to us that usually when someone wants to start a business the parties purchase or lease commercial or private land for this purpose. So why is Gravity Works pursuing putting a business in a public, neighborhood park? This park is used for hiking, biking, horseback riding and children. It is the home of bald eagles and many other wild creatures and many native plants. Woodinvile's roads cannot handle another 40,000 cars 8 months of the year. We taxpayers will be responsible for liability, and there will be liability in the use of the lines. The Zip Line is a bad idea for this neighborhood. Dallas & Ann Pasley
Johm Crotchet May 04, 2012 at 11:28 AM
You kids GET OFF MY LAWN!!!
Local Guy May 09, 2012 at 05:00 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/05/09/woman-contracts-flesh-eating-bacteria-after-zip-lining-accident/
Grunty McSnortle May 31, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Always remember to bow in the presence of an Equestrian as a sign of deference to their superior social and moral stature. Also be advised that horse droppings are a customary salutation and a genuine expression of the equestrian's high regard for the little people with whom they are occasionally required to share the trail (just as the fumes of their horse trailers and the trucks that pull them are a genuine expressions of their respect for the natural environment). The proper response to such a salutation is to say "Thank you, kind sir" in a clear, cheerful voice and to bow respectfully. If you are a commoner without land, or a petitioner requesting to pass an Equestrian, remember that the properly executed kow-tow requires touching ones forehead to the ground three times before proceeding to ask politely for the priviledge of continuing on your miserable way. If the ground has been christened by the droppings of the present horse, be careful not to reveal any distaste when your forehead contacts the droppings, as this is an affront to the Equestrian's sacred Honor, and will result in a sharp rebuke from his or her lash.

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