Tree to tree fun
• The Tree to Tree Idaho aerial adventure park is tentatively slated to open May 19 in Farragut State Park. It will be open every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day and the weekend after Labor Day. Reservations to the park will be required and can be made at http://treetotreeidaho.com/. The cost is being finalized, but will likely be around $50 for adults and $35 to $40 for the kids courses. For more information, call 208-423-8289 or e-mail email@example.com.
FARRAGUT STATE PARK — To see Kootenai County's latest outdoor adventure, you have to look up.
In some places, nearly 70 feet up.
Tree to Tree Idaho, an aerial adventure park with zip lines, Tarzan ropes, nets, shaky bridges, monkey bars, a skateboard feature and other fun obstacles for most ages and abilities, is swinging for a May 19 opening in Farragut State Park.
"I came out here two years ago looking for land for a park, and I fell in love with the area," said Dan Sullivan, who will manage the park for Tree to Tree Extreme, LLC, a family-owned business based in Gaston, Ore., that has parks there, in New York and New Jersey.
"This is exactly what we're looking for. Our park in New Jersey only has trees that are 35 feet."
The company received a conditional-use permit from Kootenai County last year to construct the four adult courses and two children’s aerial obstacle courses on 6 acres on the northeast side of the 4,000-acre park. The site is on Locust Grove Road east of the disc golf course in what was formerly a group camping area.
"We're excited to have another recreation opportunity for visitors to the park," said Randall Butt, Farragut park manager.
Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation will receive 7 percent of the annual gross receipts and a guaranteed minimum of $25,000 per year from Tree to Tree as a lease for the land. The contract is for 10 years. IDPR put the project out to bid, and Tree to Tree was selected.
Course participants will be continuously attached to a safety cable.
"We love trees, but we love safety even more," Sullivan said. "We will have safety equipment beyond what the industry calls for. As soon as you're clipped onto a course, you can't fully unclip again until you're back down on the ground. It's super safe."
It's also a workout, Sullivan added.
Each course has at least 12 obstacles and one zip line. They will take 25 minutes or more to complete, depending on how fast visitors want to take it.
"Everybody goes at their own pace, but some will want to go fast," said Sullivan, who compared the aerial courses to the TV show "American Ninja Warrior."
The cost hasn't been finalized, but will likely be around $50 for adults and $35 to $40 for the kid courses. The park will be open every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day and the weekend after Labor Day. Groups of 20 or so will start the courses at 9 a.m. and the last group will start as late as 4 p.m. Visitors must also purchase a $5 daily park fee.
Reservations to the park will be required and can be made at http://treetotreeidaho.com/. For more information, call 208-423-8289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visitors must be able to reach to 5 feet, 11 inches to be on the adult courses. The suggested starting age for kids is 7.
The adult courses get progressively more difficult — and higher.
"We get you encouraged at the beginning, then test you farther along," Sullivan said.
There will be an extra charge, perhaps $5, for the fourth and most difficult course that reaches heights of about 70 feet.
"It's long, it's difficult, but it's a lot of fun," he said, adding that the swinging logs on that course are probably the most difficult obstacle of the entire operation. "The fourth course is not for the faint of heart."
And, if you make it, there's a grand finale.
"You essentially jump off of the platform," he said, adding that a self-lowering belay system drops you into a pit of wood chips. "It brings you down as light as a feather every time."
There are also two orientation courses where visitors will get a handle for their aerial adventures. Each visitor will be given instructions on how to use the courses and equipment.
"We'll have employees roaming to help people get through the obstacles, answering questions and cheering them on," Sullivan said.
The outings will last about two and a half to three hours.
Sullivan said the park was constructed with the environment and tree health in mind. For example, equipment on the trees can be loosened, allowing them to continue to grow naturally.
Sullivan said Tree to Tree spent about $300,000 and four months constructing the park. The company estimates it will attract 12,000 participants in its first year of operation.
"It's going to be a blast," Sullivan said.