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editorial

Ramblewild offers a rare sustainable amusement park

Nature, renewable energy, sustainability — these are terms not usually associated with amusement parks, whose belching generators and fast-food litter make environmentally conscious families head for the nearest lake. But Ramblewild, the 900-acre aerial adventure park that opened in Lanesborough this summer, is something quite different: An amusement park that bills itself as a source of “ecotourism.”

The $2.8 million Berkshire County attraction touts its limited environmental footprint: Its New York-based developers not only did not damage any trees during construction, but they also harvest maple sap and lease space to the Berkshire Wind Power Project, the state’s second-largest wind farm. Ramblewild doesn’t use any electricity in the park itself; the parking lot will soon have lights powered by individual solar panels.

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Trees, in fact, are central to Ramblewild’s business model. It offers eight different tree-to-tree aerial challenge courses of various levels of difficulty. In total, the park offers more than 135 aerial routes from one tree to another, deploying high wires, zip lines, balancing logs, rope ladders, cargo nets, and suspended bridges, including one that’s 200-feet long.

Indeed, outdoor fun and zany physical challenges for people of most ages are the park’s true calling cards. But its emphasis on sustainability could show other Massachusetts attractions how to curb the electric bill and spare the landfill — and earn themselves a fresh image and more fans in the process.

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