Parks and Protected Areas
Parks of North America are attracting millions of visitors each year as people choose to lead healthier and more active lifestyles. This reality has led to the widespread growth of hiking and biking trails throughout our parks offering opportunities for recreation, exploration and adventure. The attractive qualities of our parks and ease of access have also created a great many challenges with respect to educating and guiding park visitors so both the visitor and the park environment benefit. At the same time more visitors are accessing our parks the economic crisis has created reductions in funding making park management extremely challenging. In order to meet this challenge Greenheart has been working to develop Aerial Trails in parks that attract and educate visitors while providing revenue and resources (staffing/educational programs) to a park. For many who are involved in forest conservation we have recently see the onset of a new development in aerial trails that allow both controlled access but also education and adventure that is directed towards promoting and preserving the natural environment. The two key aerial trails designs currently in place are cable based and come from the world of forest canopy research and exploration. Aerial trails are either canopy walkways (bridges allowing access to the upper canopy) and ziplines (cable based trails that allow visitors to travel from one point to another without impacting the ground level. Greenheart has been working in the world of Aerial Trail design and development for the past two decades and has designed, built and operates so me of the world’s most spectacular aerial trails. This experience is what we bring to both urban and rural parks as part of an overall strategy to create a network of sustainable and profitable public parks and protected areas. Aerial Trails and Education: as our society becomes more urban and less nature based with limited time for recreation and exploration our understanding of nature is no longer supported by direct contact. This lack of opportunity to experience and learn from nature is further damaged by limited funding for environmental education and a reduction in park interpretive programs and experiences. The goal of aerial trails is to provide educational and adventure based attractions in parks that showcase the natural beauty and value of the environment. The addition of aerial trails to parks and protected areas has allowed for not only access to nature but the ability to provide guided interpretive tours that turn park visitors into park advocates. In locations around the world ranging from Bootleg Canyon Park in Boulder City Nevada to the high mountain forests of Rwanda Greenheart has been able to establish aerial trails that not only educate visitors to the complexity and importance of our natural environment but also provide nature based employment for locals who value and respect their parks.