Adventure Course Opens
City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined elected officials, including state Senator Frank Padavan and Assemblymember Mark Weprin, Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and, Parks Department officials, Project Adventure (the course designers) and approximately 50 kids from several recreation centers last Friday to "cut the rope" and traverse the new Alley Pond Park Adventure Course- the first adventure ropes course in a New York City park and the largest of its kind in the Northeastern United States. The Alley Pond Park Adventure Course, also called a rope or challenge course, is an outdoor personal development and team building activity course that consists of elements such as zip lines, a climbing wall, webs, swings, trust falls, and balance boards.
"First came skate parks, then surfing, then hiking and camping, then mountain biking. Now you can zip through the tree tops and balance among the branches…all without leaving New York City," Benepe said. "Along with a dramatic expansion in traditional recreation facilities and programs, we are also adding a new generation of exciting venues, inspired by the 'X Games', where New Yorkers of all ages can challenge themselves and get fit. The Alley Pond Park Adventure Course is the latest and most innovative addition to our collection- adding to the scores of ways New Yorkers can enjoy the great outdoors."
The course consists of 20 high and low elements that can be both physically and emotionally challenging, and that also encourage a connection with nature. The low elements take place on the ground or on cables a few feet above the ground. Many of these elements are handicap accessible and concentrate on team building and problem solving skills. High elements take place on cables suspended 45 feet in the air, require a harness and climbing rope for safety, and focus on personal achievements as they may require participants to confront personal fears. The Adventure Course staff is trained in program implementation and safety techniques.
Park Rangers' Alley Pond Park Adventure program, which also offers canoeing, fishing, hiking and overnight camping. Free programs at the Adventure Course are available for participants eight years old and up on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through November. Families can also register with the Rangers for a free Friday or Saturday night camping experience, which includes use of the Adventure Course, as well as a cookout, star gazing, and night hikes. Groups of up to 30 individuals are also invited to register for full-day or overnight weekday programs. Materials cost $250 for the day program and $500 for the overnight program.
The course was funded with a $250,000 grant from the New York atate Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and a $120,000 grant from the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation. With matching grant funds, the nearby Springfield Playground was also recently transformed into an adventure territory for kids, featuring boulders and a mini-rock climbing wall and web.