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Jonesta6

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My understanding is that the land not being used by the park (besides boneyard and/or boat repair) is being preserved. Beyond the RPA buffers by the water, I'm not sure if there's any other legal protection for the land.

My thought would be to open up trails through some parts of the woods east of the AC turnaround (photo op overlook) and through points south.

The idea is to have the trail system open to anyone year round like most public parks. It could have interpretive signage related to the local flora/fauna, local history, and/or how BGW has aimed to preserve the land, etc.

It would have it's own small parking lot that can be accessed from 60 via Busch road kind of near the back end of the golf course where the power line clearing is.

Though the park would have the ability to close the parking lot and/or trails as desired or on a seasonal basis, the general idea is to have it open for locals and others to use independent of the park operating calendar - good will towards the community.

For an upcharge, the park could offer guided tours during the operating season - meet at the Jack Hannah wildlife area at select times in the morning or afternoon, shuttle from there to the trail parking lot, then enjoy a meal/beverage/etc upon your return (drop off at Das Festhaus or some other easily accessible food space in the park). Would be similar to an insider tour in that it requires park admission, etc.

Economically, the trails wouldn't be particularly expensive to build or maintain assuming that the trail surfaces are natural (not paved) - only a few staff members would be needed for general upkeep such as picking up garbage, etc. A few more might be needed for the tours, though the upcharge could possibly cover that expense.
 
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wombat96

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I absolutely adore this idea. The Burg unfortunately isn’t the best place to run due to the lack of sidewalks, however there are several extremely picturesque trails to check out and I think this would perfectly compliment some of the pre-existing trails in the area. The only negative to this addition in the eyes of the park would be the cost of the trails and upkeep which would be minimal, but these are outweighed by the potential heavy usage and positive press of a free natural park.
 

GrandpaD

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Not to be a Negative Nancy, but aside from the costs creating and then maintaining is the huge liability issue. People venturing off the "beaten path" and get injured by a falling tree, etc. are lawsuits just waiting to happen. I'm pretty sure protections of state and federal parks for liability wouldn't carry to private land owners.

Additionally, I wonder what the criteria of "preservation" of these areas exists. Is it to remain totally untouched? Would creating path access be contrary to the provisions?

I think, if such an area was desired by the public, SEAS donating the land to the government for strictly for the establishment of a natural park would be the way to go.
 

Jonesta6

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Thinking in terms of the public - if the signage/waiver specifically stated to not go off trails, touch/harm wildlife, or otherwise be stupid yet someone were to violate this and get hurt, then wouldn't the park be legally in the clear?

The park would be responsible for upkeep, so taking care of obvious issues such as downed trees or trees close to falling (rotten, etc.) and/or close the trails when conditions are generally unsafe would generally prevent incidents from occurring. (Cancel tours during storms, maybe some kind of automated storm announcement system so that when storms are in range of the park trail users are warned - signage stating trail users must leave, etc.)

The scenario that comes to mind when thinking about liability when the public uses facilities in private ownership are swimming pools. Hotels and condos have them, and many are not regularly staffed. I'm not 100% on the applicable laws/codes as I'm not a lawyer not legal expert, but I would think that these places wouldn't operate pools if the liability was too much.



Edit: if instead the liability issue still stands, would this be the end of the idea as it's unlikely the park wouldn't just give up their land? Could something like an easement work here?
 
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GrandpaD

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@Jonesta6 From my old (Black & white TV) days I recall being told "you can't pre-sign away liability”. All it would take (heaven forbid) a little tyke wandering away from Mom (like the 2 year old on the luggage belt in the news recently) and go missing...
 

Jonesta6

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@GrandpaD I guess I'm confused since I would think that several other similar situations exist and yet still work. However, I can totally see how having the land be considered public makes sense from a liability standpoint, just don't believe there's any interest for the park to actively lose land.
 
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horsesboy

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There are many examples of privately owed property that have publicly accessible trails generally signage advising of the inherent risks is all that is generally needed. Example "uneven ground watch step." "Stay on marked trails" That said most are owned by less juicy targets then what BGW is.
 
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Jonesta6

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Maybe I'm naive here, but I can't see any actual lawsuit against the park over something happening on these trails trumping the positive PR value so long as the park isn't negligent of their safety and security responsibilities.

Bad things can still happen, but you could argue that some of these things could happen in the park proper and yet the park would still continue operating and attracting new guests.

Side thought: if trails like this existed, could BGW do a running race through the park and trail system similar to what KD does? I haven't measured it out, but I'm thinking a loop through the park and out through the trails would be longer than the tiny 1/8 marathon KD advertises for their loops.

Side thought 2: could one side be mountain biking and the other be pedestrian? I'd imagine the terrain back there could be awesome for biking.
 

GrandpaD

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First of all, as was stated earlier in this thread - What is the criteria in what BGW can or cannot do with the property. If it's intended to be 100% untouched natural area they'll probably be stopped before the first pathway is drawn on paper. While I've not seen the actual covenants, I've understood the areas are to be an untouched, natural environment.

And, yes, I think you're being naive in your assumptions of liability. Inside the park is a controlled environment. They prohibit access to certain areas (such as under coasters), limit access to other areas (back of house gates, fences, etc.) and control these with a virtual army of team members.

Example (I've seen it countless times) - a kid climbs the fence by Apollo to retrieve his dropped phone. The second he's spotted (1) the ride shuts down (2) at least a dozen operations/security team members converge on the area. Only until he's found (and 86ed from the property) or the area has been thoroughly searched do operations resume.

This wouldn't be at all possible and/or cost prohibitive to do the same thing in a "nature trail setting". How many paid employees would be assigned a large non-revenue producing "park"? Not many, that's for sure. And no matter the numbers of signs, barriers, etc. people will sue. They may not win, but BGW still is stuck with legal bills. And just ONE bad incident would circumvent whatever positive PR you believe would be generated.

It's a nice idea. But, in today's world, I think it's just not conceivable.
 
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Applesauce

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Genuine question,

But what's really the difference between the proposed idea and say like Cypress Gardens at LEGOland Florida? I realize Cypress Gardens has existed much longer than LEGOland has. But it's still essentially a walking path, that to my knowledge doesn't have that many if any staffers. I haven't been to LEGOland, so I'm not sure how far away it is from the gardens. But it still has an entry point from the park. The proposed idea would be outside of BGW. The issue that I'm seeing people have is the path that would be near Apollo? but nothing says that there has to be a path right there.

Not to mention Dinosaurs Alive at KD was fairly close to Grizzly, and while that focused on dinosaurs, its still a nature trail for the most part. I'm not saying its a perfect idea, but the simple "No its impossible." doesn't make total sense in my head when there are other examples at other parks. They're not 1 for 1 examples, but they're close enough to the general idea to be taken into consideration.
 

Jonesta6

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@GrandpaD, I think @Applesauce has the general gist of where I was going with this.

The main 2 reasons why the entrance wouldn't be attached to the park would be because of the lack of any feasible pathways (lots of hilly terrain and possibly a few water crossings), and it would allow for locals to enjoy through the entire year instead of limited to half the year without the need for the amount of staffing the regular park requires.

I can still envision that if they were to build this, they'd have a whole lot of goodwill built towards the local community.

Btw, the overlook of AC would be across the creek so there isn't much of a chance anyone would cross then go over the fencing, or I'd figure just as much as someone walking across traffic to jump the fence from the parking lots.

But how great would that be to be able to take pictures and/or videos with a distinct BGW ride as the backdrop - free marketing via any social media posts.
 
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Genuine question,

But what's really the difference between the proposed idea and say like Cypress Gardens at LEGOland Florida? I realize Cypress Gardens has existed much longer than LEGOland has. But it's still essentially a walking path, that to my knowledge doesn't have that many if any staffers. I haven't been to LEGOland, so I'm not sure how far away it is from the gardens. But it still has an entry point from the park. The proposed idea would be outside of BGW. The issue that I'm seeing people have is the path that would be near Apollo? but nothing says that there has to be a path right there.

Not to mention Dinosaurs Alive at KD was fairly close to Grizzly, and while that focused on dinosaurs, its still a nature trail for the most part. I'm not saying its a perfect idea, but the simple "No its impossible." doesn't make total sense in my head when there are other examples at other parks. They're not 1 for 1 examples, but they're close enough to the general idea to be taken into consideration.

I don't think anyone has any issues with a path near Apollo. The issue is that the park is liable for what happens to people on its property. Both of the examples you gave require valid admission to either Legoland or KD, respectively. You can't just go in and walk for free as they are attractions of the park and you have to pay to use them. I also don't believe that either one has entrances from outside the park. So they would be fundamentally different than the examples given

@GrandpaD, I think @Applesauce has the general gist of where I was going with this.

The main 2 reasons why the entrance wouldn't be attached to the park would be because of the lack of any feasible pathways (lots of hilly terrain and possibly a few water crossings), and it would allow for locals to enjoy through the entire year instead of limited to half the year without the need for the amount of staffing the regular park requires.

I can still envision that if they were to build this, they'd have a whole lot of goodwill built towards the local community.

Btw, the overlook of AC would be across the creek so there isn't much of a chance anyone would cross then go over the fencing, or I'd figure just as much as someone walking across traffic to jump the fence from the parking lots.

But how great would that be to be able to take pictures and/or videos with a distinct BGW ride as the backdrop - free marketing via any social media posts.

The issue is still with the liability the park opens itself up to. Like has been stated before the liability with this would be different than in the park where you have to pay admission to enter. Also different than public land that has different liability than private held land. That's the main issue. I agree that it would be nice for the park to do something like this but there is too much added liability for it to be worthwhile. That's also not mentioning that if the park did do something like what is proposed the community would then be upset if the park ever decided to build on that property. Which by the way they could do if they wanted.
 
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Applesauce

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Again, I said they aren't 1 for 1 examples, but the general idea is the same.

They are walking paths owned by a private property. The only difference is Jonesta6 said make it free and and have it outside the park, while my examples are either included with admission (LEGOland) or were a couple bucks extra (KD) while still being inside the park. If Jonesta6 said make it apart of the park and came with admission, or was an upcharge would that honestly change anything?

I experienced Dinosaurs Alive, save for the girl who I paid to enter, there wasn't any staff. You were free to walk around as much as you like. It was butted up right next to Grizzly and the Go-Kart track is in front. I know injuries happen every day at the parks, but do we remotely know how many were in that specific area? If we do, how many were serious vs "a small child went running and tripped"? Do we know if anyone tried to get into restricted areas?

We talk about the park being liable, but honestly is this any different than the parking lot fence argument we just had? If they put up the proper signage similar to any state park or hotel swimming pool without a lifeguard, they would be in the clear.

Personally while I like the idea, however I can't see myself using the paths proposed. I just find it hard to believe, that outside of the "This nature should stay 100% as is" argument- which I'm not sure if that's coming from a government agreement with the park or if the park just wants to keep the land as is- that this is an automatic "No, Never Going to Happen."
 

GrandpaD

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Like I previously stated, I've not seen the covenants. But, it wouldn't surprise me, when August Busch was planning the park and Kingsmill, that a portion of the master plan was reserved to be untouched. Remember, a lot of forest, etc was disturbed building what exists today. I'm certain some conservationists (and maybe AB himself) felt there should be some untouched natural area for all the critters to have a natural habitat. One of the projects I was associated years ago had to set aside 15% of the parcel for the same reasons.

Awaiting the Kingsmill deer to file a class action suit. ??
 
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Again, I said they aren't 1 for 1 examples, but the general idea is the same.

They are walking paths owned by a private property. The only difference is Jonesta6 said make it free and and have it outside the park, while my examples are either included with admission (LEGOland) or were a couple bucks extra (KD) while still being inside the park. If Jonesta6 said make it apart of the park and came with admission, or was an upcharge would that honestly change anything?

I experienced Dinosaurs Alive, save for the girl who I paid to enter, there wasn't any staff. You were free to walk around as much as you like. It was butted up right next to Grizzly and the Go-Kart track is in front. I know injuries happen every day at the parks, but do we remotely know how many were in that specific area? If we do, how many were serious vs "a small child went running and tripped"? Do we know if anyone tried to get into restricted areas?

We talk about the park being liable, but honestly is this any different than the parking lot fence argument we just had? If they put up the proper signage similar to any state park or hotel swimming pool without a lifeguard, they would be in the clear.

Personally while I like the idea, however I can't see myself using the paths proposed. I just find it hard to believe, that outside of the "This nature should stay 100% as is" argument- which I'm not sure if that's coming from a government agreement with the park or if the park just wants to keep the land as is- that this is an automatic "No, Never Going to Happen."

I don't think the general the idea is the same. They are set up as attractions within the park. I don't think the liability would be the same if BGW decided to have a walking path that guests could walk through like the gardens at Legoland or dinosaurs alive at Kings Dominion. From my understanding of liability laws there is a difference when you pay for access to something than when things are free to the general public. That's the inherent issue. It's also different than the parking lot fence because once again you have to pay to park it's not a free parking lot.

I'm sure that some of that can be mitigated by posted signs but I'm sure not enough for it to be worth it.
 
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Jonesta6

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If planned correctly, there's a minimal amount of environment disturbed - what's the point of a nature trail if there's nothing natural about it?

While it's true that we don't know if and what exact restrictions exist regarding that land, it's highly unlikely that the park will expand into it past what's been done.

As for Auggie Busch - if the family biography was correct, he built the original Busch Gardens as a way for the community and families of workers (especially children) to relax and enjoy interactions with nature - he had animals imported to start with before eventually the park morphed into the BGT we know today (side note - bio even mentioned that the reason BGT had a Festhaus is because AB had it built as a gift for his wife, not that it had any connection to the theme). So my guess is that he would encourage this... Though obviously we'll never know.
 
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