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Zipline tour is an exhilarating forest adventure

  • Written by Deborah Stone
CanopyTours
The Canopy Tours NW zipline tour includes six ziplines, the longest which is 660 feet, a log bridge, two short trail walks and a 47-foot final rappel. Courtesy photo
A picturesque, red hillside barn is the first thing you’ll see as you approach historic Kristoferson Farm on Camano Island.

It’s a dramatic sight from the road and provides you with an initial indication that you’ve arrived at somewhere special.

The 100-year-old, 234-acre property, which is family owned and operated, is a certified organic farm that produces organic hay and lavender.

It’s also the site of Canopy Tours NW, a zipline tour that the Kristoferson family opened last year.

“We entertained various business plans to help keep the farm sustainable,” explains Mona Campbell, director of marketing for Canopy Tours NW and one of the farm’s owners. “Many involved making big changes or required huge capital investment. Then we hit upon the idea of a zipline tour, which a few of us had been on before and really enjoyed. We did research to see if something like this would fit with our values of the place and allow us to share its unique assets with others. We concluded ‘yes’ and began setting the wheels in motion.”

Campbell adds that it was the family’s intent to create an experience that would be more than just a standard zipline tour.

She says, “We wanted people to really get a sense of the environment because we’re privileged to have a diverse set of habitats here. It’s a very unique place — a wonderful example of a true Pacific Northwest forest.”

The tour includes six ziplines, the longest which is 660 feet, a log bridge, two short trail walks and a 47-foot final rappel.

Two certified guides accompany your group throughout the experience, ensuring your safety at all times.

“Safety is our number one priority,” comments Campbell. “And our guides are well-trained to handle any emergency. People can take comfort in knowing we run a top notch safety operation.”

As you fly a la Tarzan or Jane between trees from one platform to another, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the verdant greenery and flowing creek that you’ll cross several times during your exhilarating tour.

You may even spot wildlife scampering below or perched in the trees.

Your guides will point out interesting aspects of the environment, while regaling you with stories about the rich history of the land.

Soon, according to Campbell, there will be interpretive displays at each of the platforms with information about plants and sustainable forest stewardship.

“Providing an educational component is important to us,” she says. “We feel that people are generally open to learning more about their surroundings when they’re engaged in an outdoor activity.”

To date, nearly 7,000 visitors have experienced a Canopy Tours NW zipline adventure.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and Campbell admits being surprised at the level of enthusiasm folks have for this activity.

“They’re so pumped up and psyched about it and we find that even those who don’t start out this way end up feeling great about their experience,” she notes.

The word is getting out, not only in the Seattle area, but throughout the region. Corporate groups are booking tours for their retreats and team-building events, while families are excited to find an activity that all ages can do together.

“It’s accessible to everyone,” comments Campbell. “We have a weight minimum, but not an age limit. The oldest participant we’ve had so far was a 94-year-old man. He just loved it!”

The Kristoferson family hopes to increase awareness of the tour, while continuing to improve it.

They would like to add a walking tour sometime in the future, but Campbell says, “We need to do one thing well at a time. Right now, the goal is to increase our numbers because we can accommodate a lot more people.” She adds, “We want everyone to know we’re here and we’re open year-round. Even when it rains, there’s some protection when you’re in the forest. And when it snows, it’s especially beautiful.

For more information about Canopy Tours NW: (360) 387-5807 or www.canoptoursnw.com

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