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Thursday May 24th, 2018 11:53AM

Unicoi offering aerial adventure park beginning Thursday

By Rob Moore Reporter
  Contact Editor

HELEN — Just in time for summer, Unicoi State Park and Lodge has rolled out its new aerial adventure park.

Premiered to park staff and news media last week, the first phase of the zip line network provides canopy tours via aerial bridges and zip lines near the lodge.

Together with American Adventure Park Systems of Whitesburg, Coral Hospitality hopes to support the state's growing adventure travel tourism market.

"American Adventure is the perfect partner for us to continue expanding our Adventure Lodge Program in Georgia, as they share our commitment to preserving the environment while creating fun, memorable experiences for visitors of all ages," said Heath Carter, regional vice president of sales and marketing for Coral Hospitality. "The American Adventure team brings decades of experience in this area, specifically, as well as innovative concepts we believe will position our Georgia State Park lodge properties for future success."

The first phase at Unicoi includes nearly a dozen zip lines of varying heights and lengths, and speeds reaching 20 to 30 mph. Additionally, the aerial parks feature American Adventure Park Systems proprietary QuickTrekker Closed Belay System, which keeps participants attached to cables from the time they leave the ground until they complete the course.

"This system takes human error out of everything," said Thomas Kearns, manager of the attraction at Unicoi. "How it's going to work is that once you are hooked onto the system, you're pretty much there unless we need you to be otherwise. The system was designed to where you are always connected, just for the safety measure of it."

Safety is the No. 1 priority for American Adventure Park Systems, officials said.

"All of our certified guides are high ropes rescue trained," Kearns said. "We are first aid certified and wilderness first aid."

Kearns said the goal is to have a minimum of 10 guides, and the attraction will be open daily.

"At American Adventure Park Systems, our mission is to create a unique adventure experience, while providing exceptional safety to guests and protecting the ecological systems of our parks," said Mike Holder, owner of American Adventure Park Systems. "Our zipline canopy tour construction is exceptionally environmentally sensitive, even more so than building a walking path. Also, as a federally recognized 501(c)3 conservancy, we are proud to commit a portion of our proceeds to historical and ecosystem
preservation."

Now that the first phase of the aerial park is complete at Unicoi, Coral Hospitality and American Adventure will focus on opening the first phase at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge in Dawson County.

During their tour, adventurers will enjoy panoramic views of the parks’ greenery, as well as the surrounding lakes and mountains. A wildlife element will include the opportunity to spot bald eagles and red tailed hawks.

The aerial park at Unicoi opens to the public Thursday.

In addition to new aerial parks, a variety of other activities are available at Coral Hospitality’s Adventure Lodge Program locations, including archery, hiking, GPS scavenger hunts, paddle boarding, fly fishing and mountain biking.

Additionally, the store in the lodge at Unicoi affords guests the opportunity to rent GoPro cameras while enjoying the aerial tour, paddle boarding and other park adventures.

For additional information about Coral Hospitality, visit www.CoralHospitality.com. For information on the new Adventure Lodges of Georgia Program, visit www.GaAdventureLodge.com.

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