Wolcott zipline operation will add paintball as well as a bungee jumping facility | VailDaily.com

Wolcott zipline operation will add paintball as well as a bungee jumping facility

But the facility will remain closed between December and late April

Zipline Adventures in Wolcott has become a popular attraction for both guests and locals. The business has received approval to add a paintball facility and bungee jump.
Vail Daily archive
Four facts
  • What: Zip Adventures
  • Location: Just north of Wolcott on State Highway 131
  • The operation will add a paintball course and a bungee jump
  • The business will remain closed between Dec. 1 and April 30 to allow wildlife to move unhindered through the area

There are new features coming soon to Zip Adventures at Wolcott. What isn’t changing is the operation’s annual winter closures.

The Eagle County Board of Commissioners recently approved a special use permit for the operation. That permit will allow the business, run by Matt and CJ Seatvet, to add a paintball course and a bungee jump. The zipline operation has for several years been rated as one of the country’s best, and it will continue.

The business was originally granted a special use permit in 2007. The business since then has changed hands and has added new features. Those features apparently required modifications to the original permit.

The biggest change in the latest application was to allow winter operations, but only for the planned bungee jump. The operation would also be limited to roughly four hours per day, and just four or five days per week.

The proposal would have transported guests to the jump site via Sno Cat, and groups would only be on site for between 60 and 90 minutes.

Support Local Journalism

Presenting the case for adding winter hours, planner Dominic Mauriello told the commissioners that the business isn’t in critical winter range for elk, and is south of sage grouse habitat in the area. The applicants also agreed to a recommendation from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to put “bird deterrents” on zipline and bungee cables to avoid collisions by birds.

Both county planners and the applicants agreed on almost all the conditions attached to the permit language. But county planners and Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommended maintaining the winter closure. That view was also backed by the Eagle County Open Space Department.

Noting the discrepancy, Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney asked for more information about the concerns about wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife district manager Brian Woodrich told the commissioners that mule deer in the area are “my greatest concern.”

The area north of Wolcott is critical winter habitat, Woodrich said, adding that the winter months tend to see deer on the east side of the zipline facility.

McQueeney noted she couldn’t figure out a mitigation strategy for deer and humans in the area, to which Woodrich quickly replied that closures are “a proven mitigation strategy.”

Woodrich noted that people along the I-70 corridor tend to build in areas fit for human occupancy — “the path of least resistance.” The situation is the same for wildlife, he added. As humans have pushed wildlife to the outer limits of their winter range, those animals are forced into specific areas, including the north side of the interstate. Zipline Adventures sits in a “very sensitive” winter habitat area, Woodrich said.

Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry noted that animals forced toward Highway 131 are a danger not only to themselves but also, potentially, motorists on the road.

“That’s a very, very large concern,” Woodrich said, adding that crash avoidance is driving millions of dollars in department spending on wildlife overpasses and other structures along state roadways.

The commissioners unanimously agreed with the winter closure recommendation, approving the permit as presented by staff, with the addition of an occasional review of the closure period.

Support Local Journalism