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Sensation lived up to its name

9:23 am October 3rd, 2013

The thrills were zipping along at Northwest Trek this summer.
More than 10,000 people have tackled the Zip Wild challenge courses among the trees at the wildlife park. Approximately 1,000 of those adventure seekers took on Sensation, the newest and most challenging course, which opened in late May.
Officials at Tacoma Metro Parks, which operates Northwest Trek, reported that Sensation, which only 18-year-olds and up are allowed to try, has become the second most popular course. Number 1 for participants is Adventure, where the minimum age is 10.
Deep Forest Challenge, a company that specializes in designing and building challenge courses, runs the Zip Wild attractions, which ended their second season Sept. 2.
“Zip Wild has far exceeded our expectations,” said Donna Powell, business manager for Metro Parks. “Our hope was that it would attract new customers. It has certainly done that. In addition, Zip Wild has brought people to Northwest Trek who might not have come for the wildlife park alone. It’s attracting a demographic that was difficult for Northwest Trek to reach in the past.”
Sensation is considered the pinnacle of the four courses in terms of difficulty and physical challenges. Among other things, participants swing Tarzan-style on ropes through the trees and into suspended nets that must be climbed to platforms high above the ground.
Participants on all of the courses are attached to a safety line at all times to while flying along zip lines and negotiating tricky crossings between trees. There’s a feeling of danger, but no one’s going to fall and get hurt.
Jennifer Robinson, who manages the courses for Deep Forest Challenge, has noted that Sensation is the strenuous test that the most adventuresome and daring of participants want.
While the four courses vary in complexity and height among the forest, all of them offer exercise and recreation for people of varying skill levels and ages.
The other courses offer exercise, recreation and adventure for participants of varying skill levels and ages, from 6 through adult. Each course is increasingly challenging in complexity and height among the trees.

Eric Loera crosses a swinging bridge high among the trees at the Sensation challenge course. (Jim Bryant/The Dispatch)

Eric Loera crosses a swinging bridge high among the trees at the Sensation challenge course. (Jim Bryant/The Dispatch)

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