Thursday, July 5, 2012


M. Nicole Miller
There has been a lot of recent activity about the ropes/zipline course proposed for Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

The West Seattle Blog first broke the story on the proposal. Since then, concerned citizens have established a Facebook page and a Facebook group, a local TV station carried the story, and the Seattle Times ran an article. There is even a fledgling Flickr group. And this blog was created -

This is just in the last three days. There will be more, certainly.

Please check the links on the right side of this blog for updates,and feel free to send on more information/updates as you hear about it.

Mark Ahlness



    This from Trileigh's research. Very interesting publication from UK about their experiences with the GO APE company.

  2. I have now repeatedly seen the Go Ape thing at Lincoln Park called the “zipline”, or the “ropes and zipline course”. I'd like to say that I don't think this clarifies the strong negative nuance to a high enough percentage of our audience. Some would call the cable that kids slide down at the playgound at the south end of the park a “zipline”, and that “zipline” doesn't look so terrible. I will argue that “framing” is very important to getting the response you most want from your audience. “Framing” is how we phrase and present our wording so that that audience gets as much of the spin you intend as possible. (there is a book by George Lakoff “Don't Think of an Elephant” that discusses this) Similarly, the Republican strategist Frank Luntz is famous for using “focus groups” to study wording to decide which phraseology will give them the response they want, which helps them then deliver their “talking points” to the media people and legislators that they control. These carefully chosen “talking points” are a critical part of their success in getting people to accept their side of the arguments.

    So I will argue that we do our best to always choose phrasing that most clearly and strongly delivers the negatives of this project to the audience we are: talking to; writing to; or broadcasting to - the best we can, without adding too many words or being so negative that our audience shuts us out. For example, I prefer to call it the “Tarzan theme park”. Alternately we can talk about the city of Seattle “giving” “6 - 9 acres” of “the most pristine remaining natural area left in Seattle” to a “private” “British” “corporation” for a “pricy” “Tarzan theme park”, that will “take up most of the remaining available parking” and “fill the park with the sounds of screaming” kids and overgrown kids using their ziplines, and Tarzan swings. While rich kids will be able to swing and zip for $35 a turn, the kids without $35 will be able to watch.

    I then tell people that the project “WILL go through if each of us waits for others to stop it, but that it WILL be STOPPED if YOU contact the mayor and one or more city council people starting with Parks Committee chair Sally Bagshaw, and deliver the message loud and clear to these representatives that we strongly oppose it and we will long remember if they fight it and long remember if they do nothing, and you then get the message out to enough additional people to take the same action. I then end it with “Can you call the mayor and City Council Parks Committee Chair Bagshaw?” (if a “yes”, I respond with a strong “thanks!”)

    And remember, we can use whatever wording we choose, so I will recommend we use the wording that best delivers the message with the nuance and spin we want, and best promotes the actions we want.

  3. I'd like to offer another bit of wording when talking to people that is sure to elicit a more consistently negative response to the plan. The city has a plan to give the British Go Ape corporation 6 to 9 acres of Seattle's most pristine natural forest here in Lincoln Park to "commercially develop" into a privately run pricy treetop zipline and Tarzan swing course (or "Tarzan theme park", as I like to call it). I believe using the term "commercially develop" is both quite accurate and will get 99% of those hearing it strongly opposed.