Oldsmar to add zipline park at Mobbly Bayou Preserve

An agreement between the City and an outdoor adventure concession company will see an aerial park, featuring five ziplines, installed at Oldsmar's Mobbly Bayou Preserve,

An agreement between the City of Oldsmar and an outdoor adventure concession company will see an aerial park, featuring five ziplines and other elements, installed at Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

Ever wondered what Oldsmar would look like from high above the treetops?

Thanks to an agreement between the City and an outdoor adventure concession company, you will soon be able to learn the answer to that question.

On No. 17, the Oldsmar City Council approved a request to allow City Manager Bruce Haddock to negotiate an agreement with Empower Adventure Operations, LLC. to install a zipline/outdoor adventure park at the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

In approving the consent docket item by a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Council addressed concerns that were raised in a letter about the invasiveness of such facilities on the environment.

Ultimately, the five council members all agreed that the benefits of the parks far outweighed the concerns.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

“The actual impact is going to be fairly minimal,” Mayor Doug Bevis said. “A zipline really allows you to see beautiful areas…of the woods without really impacting them. You’re basically like a bird flying over them.”

“While I appreciate the concern, I think we need to do it with attention to minimizing any impacts that there are, but I think it’s a great asset, and what better way to showcase it (the preserve) than by flying over it? And it’s fun.”

“I agree. I’ve done a few ziplines and it is beautiful,” Council member Linda Norris said. “I think it’s a good idea. It’s what we’ve been wanting to do in the City of Oldsmar. It is eco-tourism.”

Vice-Mayor Gabby McGee, who is no stranger to outdoor adventures, also praised the ecotourism aspect of these types of parks.

“I just went zipling on Saturday in Ocala…and when you got to the top, it was the most beautiful view of pure Florida I’ve ever seen,” she said.

“I think it’s a beautiful way to showcase the ecotourism that you have.”

This photo from Empower Adventure Operations' Facebook page shows what a zipline aerial park is like.

This photo from Empower Adventure Operations’ Facebook page shows what a zipline aerial park is like.

According to information contained in Empower Adventure Operation’s proposal, the park will feature a 55-foot-tall start tower, five ziplines of varying lengths, a 100-foot suspension bridge as well as other adventure park elements such as log bridges, catwalk bridges, steps, tires, and poles.

Professional guides will lead groups of 12 through the course, which will take approximately an hour and a half to complete and will run at varying times during the day. Photos will be available for purchase, and reservations are recommended.

In addition to the aerial park, the company plans to add kayak and bike rentals at the preserve in the future.

According to the proposal, work on the park would start in January and take approximately 8-12 weeks to complete.

The proposal stated the company hopes to have the facility ready in time for the 2016 spring break season.

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