Callie On The Job: Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Callie On The Job: Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour

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MAKANDA -- Rarely do we get to disconnect from a world filled with continuous access to communication and social media, but one business in Makanda prides themselves in taking it back to 1995. Callie spent some time with nature in this week’s Callie on the Job. 

Southern Illinois is filled with beautiful natural sites. One business in Makanda gets a bird's-eye view of those sights. 

Marc Miles took 83 acres in Makanda and built Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour, complete with zip lines and aerial bridges all linked together with hiking trails. 

"People don’t realize what great topography and forest and bluffs southern Illinois has, and I thought if I could find the perfect builder to come in here and transform this into something special we would have a great zip line," Miles said. 

Miles explained he wasn't a big fan of roller coasters but he thinks a different feeling of adrenaline. 

"It’s real exciting but yet extremely safe," he said. 

Safety is at the top of his list at Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour. Every morning Miles tests out the eco-friendly course before anyone takes a ride. The gear is also inspected and rotated to make sure all gear gets the same amount of usage. 

Once the daily prep work is done, it’s time for participants to sign waivers and gear up for Flight School. That's where you learn how to sit in the harness, you learn about break signals and how to break. 

Once all the basics are learned, then participants are cleared to take the canopy tour. 

Miles says about 50 percent of the people that come to the course actually have a fear of heights. 

"Our guides are so good they’re excellent at conquering those fears, allaying those fears by talking to them. So there’s a lot of psychology that goes on here," Miles said. 

Some people are afraid their weight might snap the line, Miles says that won't happen. 

"The harness holds 10,000 pounds, the cable holds 26,000 pounds so you’re kind of like a gnat on this cable," he said. 

The tour starts off with shorter zips that are a little slower. Miles says once you get to the fourth line though the training wheels come off. 

"People that have been all over the world, literally zipping in every corner of the earth, and they come in here and walk in that back door and say, this is probably one of the best zips I’ve ever been on. So we know it’s good because of the feedback we get," Miles said. 

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