Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) today announced plans for a 175 mile zip line across the Ozarks in North West Arkansas and South West Missouri. The zip line will utilize their soon-to-be installed 345KV high frequency power lines across the region.
SWEPCO announced plans for the high frequency power lines earlier this year. The plan faced immediate opposition from residents and regular visitors of the impacted areas, saying it would detract from the natural beauty in that area of the state. Quickly a group called Save the Ozarks formed. The group has regularly used Facebook to organize protest and distribute information in opposition of the power lines.
“SWEPCO is ruining one of the most beautiful areas in the country all to make a little profit,” Save the Ozarks Director Pat Costner says. “People come to this area every year to enjoy the beauty of the Ozarks and Beaver Lake, not to look at some power line.”
In today’s announcement SWEPCO responded by releasing plans to leverage the 150ft tall power lines into a zip line that stretches from Eureka Springs to Bentonville, then back around the Boston Mountains.
“We fully understand the desire to preserve this part of the state,” SWEPCO spokesperson Peter Main tells us. “That is why we want to make it clear that we are not taking away from the beauty, rather we are offering better views. Our 150ft power lines will offer an unparalleled experience of the region. Imagine zipping at 85mph by Beaver Lake at sunset on a 345KV power line. You can’t get that view anywhere else without crashing a motor cycle.”
SWEPCO says that they will install a trolly system at zip line stops in Bentonville and Springdale to carry visitors to Crystal Bridges Museum and Razorback Stadium. Additionally plans were unveiled to extend the lines in the next 10 years to Branson, MO to offer quick travel for people in NWA to visit the area.
SWEPCO said they plan to install a number of treehouse hotels along the including a plan to claim eminent domain on The Grand Treehouse Resort in Eureka Springs. They hope the plan will attract additional tourist to the area.
In an effort to ease tensions, SWEPCO says that they will offer all Save the Ozarks members free access to ride on the 345KV power lines, including allowing them to take the inaugural ride.