Zip lines bring new adventure to Brown County

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NASHVILLE - Long known as the artists' colony of the Midwest, there is a new way to experience Brown County from a vantage point that will get your heart pumping.

October in Indiana showcases an orange and red portrait of spectacular fall color. One of the best places to soak in fall's beauty is in Brown County. It's Nashville's prime time of the year but one man is determined to prove there is more here than just shops and sightseeing.

"Brown County needs to take care of the needs of the family and the new generation, and the new generation, they're looking to do adventure type-stuff," said Gary Bartels.

Bartels offers that very thing at his extreme vacation destination, Valley Branch Retreat. The 500-acre hideaway is complete with paint ball, ATV trips and now, eight heart-pounding zip lines.

It's just what Bryan Woodcock believes the area needed.

"I think it's a lot more than just the park, you know, walking around the park and the same routine we've all been through for years. Let's try something a little different, something a little more exciting," he said.

Bartels, a former engineer, wanted to give families a place to get away from it all without going too far.

"You know it's doing some good when you hear the chatter and the talk. They're not thinking about their everyday stresses and duties and responsibilities, they're out to have fun and that's what I love to sell is fun," he said.

People young and old are lining up to experience the season high in the treetops, including Bartels' own mother.

"She is 88, in a walker and I'm going to assist her and she will zip," he said.

A ninth line is in the works, a quarter-mile "super zip" that, once complete, can keep visitors in the air for an entire mile.

"Hearing the 'Woohoo!' and you know that they're having fun," Bartels said.

Bartels claims to have the longest, fastest and tallest zip lines in the state. The new section will be open in the spring, but they are taking reservations for the eight lines currently up and running.