Pipestem zip line

This graphic shows the projected zip line course across the mountains and valleys of the park. 

PIPESTEM — Some exciting updates are coming to Pipestem Resort State Park this summer.

According to Paul Buechler, CEO of Pipestem Adventures and Chief Financial Officer of ACE Adventure Resort, the West Virginia Parks System will perform $65 million worth of improvements through bond money.

Pipestem, the largest of W.Va.’s 55 state parks, will open a zip line course, a splash pad and a beachfront on the lake, among other improvements this summer.

“There will be renovations of their cabins, but two of the big projects, and where we come in, is they are building a zip line and a splash pad,” Buechler said. “The company name is Pipestem Adventures and we are going to operate their adventures.”

Pipestem hopes to increase visitors by updating some of their activities. In addition to the existing golf courses, Pipestem Adventures will run mountain biking programs, climbing and rappelling programs, kayak instructions and more. 

Buechler said Pipestem’s landscape is perfect for a zip line course. There will be a total of nine “zips.” After the course, guests can take Pipestem’s tram back up the mountain.

“I have built a couple of zip lines, this is without a doubt, the best zip line in the east coast,” Buechler said. “It has nine zips, four zips over a thousand feet long, three of them are 300 feet off the ground, it is going to be amazing as you go across the gorge.”

According to Buechler, four of the nine zips are over a thousand feet and could reach speeds of up to 40 mph. However, he added that the zip line has three different systems for braking while riding and is regulated under the ACCT, the gold standard.

The zip line is technically a canopy tour because once the course is started, it never leaves the trees.

“This is technically a canopy tour is in the trees, a zip line is platform based,” Buechler said. “We call it all zip line because a lot of times people don’t know what the canopy tour means.”

The zip line canopy tour will be guided by highly trained professionals that are there to lead as well as educate.

“Our guides are really good at getting people comfortable,” Buechler said. “We like the nature experience, these are very interpretive experiences. The flora, the fauna, the history, the habitat, the guides have to pass a test on it. We try at every platform to talk about something cool. We try to make this a nature experience as much as anything. It is exhilarating, but we do not want it to be an amusement ride.”

The zip line is slated to open the first week of May, the splash-pad is will open in early June and the lake beach activities will be ready by summer 2019.

— Contact Emily Rice at erice@bdtonline.com and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice