The Camden Parks and Recreation Committee met Wednesday, April 7 to review its proposed budget for fiscal year 2010-11 and discuss an agenda that included a conversation about playground equipment and a request by Christien Wilson to open a zip line adventure park in Camden.

On March 23 Wilson wrote to Town Planner and Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Nims asking for assistance in siting his project. A zip line is a system that uses a pulley mounted on an inclined cable. Users generally wear harnesses and helmets and use the force of gravity to ride the zip line.

“I would like to establish a zip line adventure park in Camden, which I feel is a fantastic location for this project,” Wilson wrote in an e-mail message. “The popularity of zip lines will only increase and has been the saving grace in many South American and Caribbean countries. Many more visitors will visit Camden and take advantage of existing facilities already in place.” Wilson said he is the founder of the Grenada Zip Line Tour Company and is in the process of setting up zip line tour centers in Grenada, St. Thomas and Hong Kong.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Camden to find a driven and ambitious partner in the commercial zip line sector,” Wilson wrote. “Please could you help me in my search to acquire 20 to 30 acres of hilly woodland?”

Nims responded by directing Wilson to Camden’s Zoning Ordinance, which allows a use such as the one proposed in only two districts. The Rural Recreational District next to Hosmer Pond is town-owned land and includes the Snow Bowl.

The Rural 2 District area in the western part of Camden is privately owned land and Nims suggested Wilson contact a local real estate agent to assist him in a search for an appropriate parcel in that area.

In an e-mail correspondence with Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Kuller, Wilson said he wanted to lease land from the town for the project.

“I would like to lease the land [and] own the business where I would pay a 10 percent fee on net profit to [the town of] Camden,” Wilson wrote. “The park would be installed, maintained and insured at no cost to the [town] and would provide a generous return.”

Wilson said the adventure park would have two separate courses, a smaller hybrid zip line and an aerial trekking confidence course, which he referred to as “the real hold onto your pants, big adrenaline rush zip line rides and vertical drop power slides extending from mountain top to bottom at $60 and $90, sold both singly and as a package.”

He said he expected a return of $60,000 the first year and in excess of $100,000 by the fourth year.

Kuller said April 9 that the committee was intrigued by Wilson’s proposal, but wanted more information. He said he was instructed to learn more about the company and Wilson’s proposal. Kuller said that he would be looking into existing zipline parks in New Hampshire to find out how they were received in local communities.

“It’s not crucial to the redevelopment project,” he said.

Work on the design for a new lodge at the Snow Bowl continues, Kuller said, with some improvements made and others still under discussion. He said that funding is till a critical step before a new building can be built.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.