Since it opened last month, Arbraska’s new treetop trekking adventure in the Ganaraska Forest, north of Port Hope, has reached new heights of adventure.
“We currently have four sites in Québec and we’ve found that when someone experiences one park, they want to try another of our parks,” says Jamie Hesser, Ontario Regional Manager for Tree-top Trekking. “With Ganaraska we will have three parks in Ontario so we needed to make sure that each of our courses was completely distinct. In our seven parks, no two courses are the same.”
Ganaraska is indeed different in quite a few ways. “We are located within a conservation area,” adds Hesser, “so it was important for us to blend into the forest and not be an eyesore for other forest users.” Any wood that had to be cut was reused in course construction. “It has a very natural look to it, aside from people climbing at the tops of trees!”
Thrill seekers can now explore quite a few Ontario parks that offer ziplines and beautiful views. But Arbraska offers something a little different. “We don’t just have suspension bridges or simple games,” says Hesser. “We have many challenges.” And challenges they are! Climbers need to work both physically and mentally to get through the courses. Among the challenges is Ontario’s only Fly Swatter in which climbers grab a rope Tarzan-style, speed across on a zipline and land in a net in such a way that they look like flies being swatted. Or a porcupine challenge on the beginner- intermediate course where climbers manoeuvre across the shape of a porcupine, much like you would a climbing wall only you are suspended about 12 metres in the air.
Ganaraska proved an ideal site for such daring activities. “Our courses run between two parts of the forest, says Hesser. “We are partly in a plantation and partly in a mixed forest. The plantation is great for Treetops because they are easy for building the courses as the trees are very straight with very few branches that needed to be cut.”
Adding to the adventure is a nighttime trek. Climbers use headlamps and the moonlight to travel through the course. Adds Hesser with a chuckle, “When you are ziplining at night, you don’t see where you are going to land until you are a few feet from the landing!”
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