The Raven’s Rim Zip Line project is back on track after delays caused by construction problems with an access trail. The Moab City Council this week approved a new agreement with Moab Zip Line Adventures that includes an annual license fee and reclamation bond.
The problem at the site arose after the four-wheel-drive trail used to reach the top of the zip line was built on a different part of city-owned property than previously authorized by the city.
According to Casey Bynum of Boulder Colo., owner of Moab Zip Line Adventures, the trail was moved largely in an attempt to decrease the impact on the land. Bynum said the route that was initially proposed cut across a larger area of city-owned property, but had the least impact on the land. The city required that the trail be built in a different location to reduce the amount of city property affected.
Moab City Manager Donna Metzler said during the March 26 meeting that the city did not agree to the initial trail location because the area in question has been discussed as a possible future location for city water tanks.
When construction began on the trail, however, the contractor did not follow the city-approved route. A memo written by Trautner Geotech LLC, one of three independent engineers that Bynum consulted regarding the trail, stated that, “Apparently, the project excavation contractor felt that the proposed road alignment in this area would be difficult to construct, and made a decision to align the roadway further into the City of Moab land parcel.”
Bynum said the approved route would have led to a larger amount of excavation, as well as some serious drainage issues. He said that route would have made a “huge scar” on the terrain.
“We’re trying to make the whole project as low-impact as possible,” Bynum said.
Bynum has been working closely with Moab City Planning Director Jeff Reinhart and Metzler to reach a satisfactory arrangement.
“We worked really well with Jeff and Donna to find a happy medium,” Bynum said. “The final route agreed upon was the least impactful.”
Because the new route utilizes more city property than initially anticipated, city officials chose to amend the original agreement to reflect the increased use. Initially, the city granted the zip line business a property easement and planned to charge a one-time fee of $200. Metzler said the new agreement will grant Moab Zip-Line Adventures a temporary license instead of the easement.
“It gives them temporary use of the property,” Metzler said, adding that the new agreement also opens up the possibility for the city to regain use of the property if that becomes necessary.
The license will be renewed annually, with a fee of $200 each year. The city council also opted to require that the business purchase a bond to cover the cost of reclamation should the trail cease to be used.
Bynum said he is happy to pay the extra money.
“Everyone is happy and on good terms,” he said.
The zip line course is located near the Slickrock Bike Trail and is surrounded by public lands in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, managed cooperatively by Grand County and the Bureau of Land Management. A section of the course is also located on private lands, and the company’s storefront is located adjacent to the city-owned lands.