Pine Hill Park is adding a playground of sorts.
The Rutland Recreation and Parks Department and Come Alive Outside will hold a grand opening Saturday for the Pine Cone Adventure Forest — a series of features added to the park to make it more engaging for families.
Andy Paluch, coordinator for Come Alive Outside, said the features have been added to the Giorgetti Loop near the entrance to the park. He said they emerged out of discussions on how to get more of the families who live close to the park to use it, and were funded with a grant from the Vermont Department of Health. He said Come Alive Outside and the rec department worked with Wonderfeet Kids Museum and the Pine Hill Partnership to create 12 “natural playstations.”
“One of them’s called ‘stick city,’” he said. “The idea was to put out — this is a great place to build forts and get kids building forts out of sticks.”
In another spot, stumps left from trail-clearing were painted and arranged in a “stump hop area.” Organizers also created a story about invisible trolls living in the park, Paluch said, and fashioned “troll footprints” at some of the bridges. Another site is at Elephant Rock, near the entry to the park.
“Kids always climb up on top of that rock, so we put climbing holds on the face and the edge,” he said.
Another location was deemed ideal for building fairy houses, and Paluch said they made use of a collection of recently unearthed felt badges the rec department had left over from various children’s competitions in the 1960s.
“We’ve been working through the summer,” Paluch said, noting that the grand opening comes as autumnal chills increasingly take over the air. “It’s been half open and we had volunteer days. Now it’s at the point where it’s open.”
The grand opening, which also serves as the kick-off for the 50 miles in 50 days walking challenge, takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday in Lower Giorgetti Field.