CLAYTON, MO. (KTVI) - Opponents railed against zip lining in St. Louis County for more than an hour Tuesday night, trying to keep "zip lining" out of Creve Coeur Park.
Their efforts failed.
The St. Louis County Council voted, 5-1, to bring zip lining to the park this Spring.
One council member was absent.
Nearly 20 people spoke against it. Most of the opponents were Audubon Society members. Most of their concerns were about wildlife, especially birds that will be sharing the tree tops with zip liners.
'Creve Coeur Memorial Park is not the place for loud squealing, zip lining, high flying, fun,' one opponent said.
Another spoke against what she called, 'raucous, disruptive forms of entertainment.'
'We`ve got Six Flags, we`ve got 'x' number of recreational places where this would fit in,' said another.
'Provide responsible recreation, not `wreck`-reation',' said another woman holding sign reading 'WRECKREATION'.
But Parks Director, Tom Ott, said there was no indication of an adverse impact on wildlife at other zip line attractions operated by the company, Go Ape, which will run the one in Creve Coeur Park.
The course will use just 7 of the park's more than 21-hundred acres; with those 7 acres being in the air.
Ott said the on-the-ground footprint will be only 1 acre; it will bring in an estimated $100,000-a-year for park improvements.
He said car traffic would actually drop with the course handling a maximum of 14 users per hour, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. during the week; 14 per ½ hour, 9:00-3:00 on the weekends.
Long-time parks volunteers, John and Bonnie Lorenz, support the zip lining proposal.
They recently went zip lining in the Smoky Mountains. It was their first time.
'When I stepped off that first platform then it was fun the rest of the way. Would I do it again ? In a heartbeat,' Bonnie Lorenz said.
'I didn`t see any birds that were afraid of us. I was more scared of them. It was just beautiful.
We saw them nesting,' John Lorenz said.
'We don`t know what the impact is,' said St. Louis Audubon Society Executive Director, Mitch Leachman. 'We are concerned about that impact. We have legitimate reasons to be concerned. These are new activities. They haven`t been studied.'
'We want our parks to be a place of destination; a place that`s cutting edge; a place to attract different people in our parks. It`s for all the people of St. Louis County, not just the horse riders, the trail hikers or the soccer or the golf people of the boat people,' said St. Louis County Executive, Charlie Dooley.
Construction will start next month.
The attraction should open by Memorial Day.
You have to be 10 years old to participate. The cost will be $35 for kids, $55 for adults.