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Outdoor Life: Try zip lines for outdoor adventure
Alvin Richardson

There are lots of outdoor related activities for us to take part in that range from kayaking to canoeing to hiking, biking and camping. Additionally for ultra-motivated athlete there are the extreme eco-sports from Iron Man Triathlons to marathons run in the Arctic and over desert lands. Most of us seek something exciting yet a little less demanding and zip line sports are one of the best new activities around.
    Zip lines are, historically speaking, nothing new. They have been used to varying degrees in areas of the world as transportation for hundreds of years. They can serve as transportation between places that are hard to travel between (like rivers and mountains) from a local standpoint.
    Professional zip lines for recreational purposes (such as the ones we are looking at today) typically operate at higher speeds and cover longer distances than most of the home made variety. Many of these zip lines are built to give the participants a quality excursion through forest tops and over water with beautiful scenery as the back drop.
    A zip line basically consists of a pulley suspended on a cable that is mounted on an incline for travel from one area to another using gravity as the major force. Today’s zip lines are usually made of stainless steel and the participants are outfitted with connecting devices to the pulley including a safety harness and helmet. Their primary purpose is for recreation and their popularity is on the rise at camps and upscale resorts all over the world.
    There are several places around North Georgia and the rest of the state offering this and other outdoor activities and one of the closest to Athens is North Georgia Canopy Tours located in Lula, Georgia. Lula is located on the western edge of Hall County. They offer an array of outdoor sports and games including zip line tours that range from two to three hours and include a dozen zip lines that cruise over ponds and the North Oconee River. There are also two sky bridges on the tours as well. Participants are given individualized instructions on safety as well as hints on how to execute braking maneuvers. You can also have your tour put on a DVD to enhance your memories of the trip. There is also an educational tour called the Nature Challenge available as well as disc golf and lots of outdoor games.
    There are plenty of other places around the state where you can go to enjoy a tree top adventure. Whitesburg Historic Banning Mills, located in Whitesburg (between Newnan and Carrollton) is another option. In addition to their seven miles of zip lines they also feature a monster climbing wall, a country inn and retreat, and a conservation center. A bonus can be found at nearby Chattahoochee Bend State Park, a brand new park on the Chattahoochee River where kayaking is a favorite past time.
    Another location near Athens that offers this eco-adventure is found outside Buford at Lake Lanier Islands. Lake Lanier Canopy Tours has eleven zip lines with five of over 1000 feet that glide over and around beautiful Lake Lanier. They even have a night tour that can be booked as well.
    Most of the zip line opportunities at these facilities cost anywhere from around $50 to $140 depending on the tour you take and the extras that you want. All of them have certain limitations and qualifications that must be met in order to participate. Typically you must weigh between 50 and 250 pounds and most places have an age minimum of about eight years. Others have rules regarding dangling jewelry and hair that are safety related. Nearly all will expect you to sign a waiver of liability before you begin.
    If being in the outdoors is your thing zip lining might just be the thing for you. I recommend trying one of these places to see if a grand excursion through the tree tops will give you the thrills you seek.
    Here is some contact information for reservations, directions, prices and requirements at these facilities.

North Georgia Canopy Tours – Lula, Georgia –

Lake Lanier Canopy Tours – Buford, Georgia –

Whitesburg Historic Banning Mills – Whitesburg, Georgia

    For a full listing of zip lines around Georgia you can go to

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