The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

October 3, 2012

Scouts view county from treetops

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— Boy Scouts could be spotted zipping, climbing and swinging Saturday as they navigated their way through the treetops of TimberTrek Aerial Adventure Park at Adventures on the Gorge as part of the Fall Camporee.

Approximately 60 scouts came to Fayette County Friday night to set up camp at Burnwood campground and prepare for a day of adventure.

The scouts got off to a bit of a wet start, but Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day to spend in the treetops at the aerial adventure park.

Many scouts were from the Seneca District, including troops from Beckley, Fayetteville and Lewisburg. Some scouts, however, had ventured a bit farther.

Scout Master William Chambers brought nine scouts from Tazewell, Va., which is part of the Buckskin Council.

Usually the scouts stay pretty local, but Chambers said they found out about Adventures on the Gorge and wanted to try it out.

“We wanted to do something out of the ordinary,” Chambers said. “The boys are having a great time.”

Dave Arnold, with Adventures on the Gorge, said TimberTrek is a bit like a canopy tour with a challenge. An element is set up between each tree, such as ziplines, cargo nets, rope swings or wooden foot bridges.

“This is the largest aerial adventure park in the western hemisphere,” Arnold said. “Many courses are linear, but this one is looped.”

Whether the adventurer starts out on a yellow beginner course, or at a black advanced course, they all end their journey at the tree stand where they began.

Arnold said TimberTrek can be as challenging as you want it to be. With each level, the course becomes increasingly difficult, adding both height and distance to complete the aerial adventure.

“The courses are self-guided, which is a cool aspect,” said Megan McCoy, assistant manager of TimberTrek. “You do your own clipping, but it’s safe because one clip remains fastened at all times.”

From the beginning of the journey, one of the two clips on the harness will remain attached to a steel cable system that wraps around the entire course. Instructors prep the participants before they begin, as well as show them how to use the special tool for ziplining.

Although the scouts did all the climbing, swinging and ziplining on their own, TimberTrek staff, or “Trekkies,” were always close by to answer questions or provide assistance.

David VanHoozier, 12, of Troop 94, said he was having a great time.

After he completed the beginner yellow course, he was ready for “Flying Squirrel,” the next level green course.

“My favorite part was the zipline,” VanHoozier said as he clipped himself in, ready for a brand new challenge.

McCoy said her personal favorite is the green course, which she said has the best variety of challenges. Many others prefer the blue course, “The Mountaineer,” which is the longest of the five courses.

She said the Aerial Adventure Park has been open since April and it’s starting to catch on. One of the first groups to try it out was a group of Cub Scouts.

“Once you’re here, you have to try it,” McCoy said.

Saturday was certainly filled with some adrenaline-packed adventures, but the scouts also took some time out to give back to their community.

They visited Nuttallburg, an old coal mining town that is now owned by the National Park Service.

The scouts spent four hours cleaning interactive NPS signs throughout the town.

Fall Camporee came to an end Sunday as troop leaders and scouts made their way back home.

For more information about TimberTrek Aerial Adventure Park, visit www.newrivergorgecanopytour.com.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com