Thrill seekers now have a new and improved launch site from which to soar through the heavens.
With one of the most scenic views on the North Okanagan, the King Eddy hang glider and paraglider launch site is now more user friendly.
The launch is several kilometres from Highway 6 along the King Eddy Forest Service Road and is a popular launching point for hang gliders and parasailers.
Jerry Mason, with the Okanagan Soaring Association, said astroturf was installed at the launch site recently.
Cooper's Launch – named after the North Okanagan's most famous border collie – was upgraded three years ago with the second launch site being upgraded late last month.
“We put some ginseng matting underneath because that tends to hold the weeds back. The astroturf actually came from a football field in Kelowna. They just wanted to get rid of it, so we didn't have to buy it, it was just the transportation.”
The OSA just had to pay for the transportation of the material.
“Right now the launch and landing area is beautiful and lush. It doesn't get any better than it is right now,” Mason said. “But as soon as it dries out with all the walking around, particularly on the launch site, by mid-summer it is dust, there not one single blade of grass so you have to lay out your $5,000 wing in the dirt. We now have artificial turf to protect our expensive gear from dust and rocks as well as easier access for tandem passengers.”
Mason gave a special shout out to Bo Sash Contracting of Lumby which helped with the installation.
The Lumby and Lavington areas are known to hang gliders and paragliders around the world.
Last year, the Vernon P.G.A. Open paragliding event was held in the King Eddy area, attracting pilots from Austria, Japan and other far-flung destinations.
For more information on paragliding and how to get involved with the sport, visit the Coldstream-based Paraglide Canada website.