Meryl Lipman, State Parks, (360) 902-8557
Jack Hartt, State Parks, (360) 675-3767, ext. 226
Leo Fischer, AdventureTerra, (206) 914-8613
New state park adventure takes visitors to new heights—up in the trees
OLYMPIA – June 12, 2017 – Washington State Parks and AdventureTerra of Seattle are teaming up to offer guided, educational tree-climbing adventures to visitors at Deception Pass State Park.
The new concession activity is being offered in the Hoypus Point area of Deception Pass State Park, 41020 SR 20, Oak Harbor. (Directions)
AdventureTerra’s certified tree climbing guides teach and oversee the technical roped climbs. The company outfits climbers with mandatory helmets, harnesses, safety glasses, foot holds and ascenders, all of which meet international climbing standards of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA). Guides provide an orientation and instruction before sending climbers up a tree.
Deception Pass State Park Ranger Jack Hartt recently climbed the Hoypus Point tree with a group. Before the climb, they spent time trying on harnesses and helmets.
“AdventureTerra does a lot to get you suited up and comfortable with the gear before you start climbing,” Hartt said.
The group learned climbing techniques and made a short practice run before the big climb. Sitting in the treetops, Hartt said he could see the Deception Pass Bridge, the north side of the park and the San Juan Islands and Victoria—all on a cloudy day.
“I was just ecstatic,” he said.
Climbers pay $149 for the four-hour activity. Reservations for beginner climbs and subsequent sunset climbs can be made at AdventureTerra.com.
The adventure is open to children age 7 and older. AdventureTerra Founder and CEO Leo Fischer said he takes clients as old as 75, but there is no upper age limit. He noted that people with larger bodies can scale the trees, as the treetop anchors are rated to catch a fall with a force of 9,000 pounds. Many people with disabilities engage in the activity, during which the climbing guide will use an assistant line. After dangling above the ground and working their way up the rope on ascent, climbers take a snack break, enjoy views of the canopy and Puget Sound and rappel off the tree, using the rope and equipment to lower themselves.
Washington State Parks has worked with AdventureTerra since 2014, having granted the company a commercial use permit to hold rock climbing classes at such parks as Larrabee and Olallie State Park.
Respecting the environment
When AdventureTerra proposed the concession, State Parks arborists researched the environmental effects of the activity and determined that, with careful anchor placement and care not to compact the soil at the base, the operation did not pose a threat to the trees. Parks Arborist David Cass and Fischer said climbers will not disturb moss and lichen communities by sitting on the tree branches during their breaks; they will remain in their harnesses to rest and eat.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the endangered Marbled murrelet, a sea bird that nests up to 50 miles inland in old-growth trees, is unlikely to use that area. Fischer said he or one of his employees climb the designated tree each day before clients arrive.
Though the Hoypus Point trees have been inspected for wildlife, Fischer said, “If we see a nest or a den, we switch trees.”
Such partnerships are part of Washington State Parks’ mandate from the Legislature to generate increased revenue. Concession activities and accommodations must fit with Parks’ mission, vision and core values.
About Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park covers more than 4,000 acres on Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. The marine and camping park includes 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline on three lakes. The iconic Deception Pass and Canoe Pass bridges connect the two parts of the park—the northern is on Fidalgo Island, and the southern part is on Whidbey Island. The park is Washington’s most visited state park and offers hiking, biking, running, boating, paddling, fishing, birding, beach exploration and more. For more information, visit: http://parks.state.wa.us/497/Deception-Pass
AdventureTerra is an educational climbing guide service in Washington State. The Seattle-based company specializes in rock and canopy climbing activities that are also designed to build upon skills and traits such as confidence, tenacity, passion, discipline, teamwork and courage. For more information, visit: AdventureTerra.com.
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at http://adventureawaits.com/
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W.
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504-2650
Washington Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388