LARGO – Largo commissioners gave staff the go-ahead May 13 to pursue contracting with a company that would build a tree adventure course behind the Highland Recreation Complex.
The course would include a zipline over the lake to the northeast, along Lake Avenue, and back to the large group of trees directly north of the newly renovated complex. It could include a plethora of different climbing challenges, with ropes, nets, ladders or suspended platforms, at different levels of difficulty.
Participants would stay hooked to an overhead cable at all times, ensuring safety should they stumble while climbing through the canopy of the trees.
The activities and various structural elements would blend into the trees and not affect the walking path underneath it, said parks superintendent Greg Brown.
Currently, tree zipline courses are a growing industry, but are not offered anywhere else in Pinellas County. The closest zipline course is a steel one at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, with a course recently constructed in Sarasota.
Commissioner Woody Brown asked why no one else in the area had tried such a concept.
“Lack of imagination. I think Largo has long been on the cutting edge of recreation activities,” Recreation, Parks and Arts Director Joan Byrne said. “I think this is a very popular activity. It’s always nice to be first.”
The city will request bids from companies interested in putting up the costs to build and maintain the course as well as protect the trees. The winning company would run the course with its own staff, potentially out of a small building designed to store equipment and help customers sign up and go through a mandatory training to participate.
The city would receive a percentage of the revenues.
At least two companies are interested in building an adventure course, specifically at Highland, Greg Brown said. The commissioners had many questions about safety and logistics, much of which will have to be worked out in the contract process, but they enthusiastically supported the idea.