On The Trail: Ziplining in the Shawnee National Forest - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

On The Trail: Ziplining in the Shawnee National Forest

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(WSIL) -- There are many ways to get “On The Trail’ this summer, but some are higher up than others.

We’re back “On The Trail’ this week but not by foot. We’re getting a whole new look at the Shawnee National Forest from the tree tops. Marc Miles, owner of Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour in Makanda, says folks from all over the country come to zip line right here in southern Illinois. 

Miles says, “That’s why we’re so proud of this place, because people have been ziplining all over the world, zipping previously, and they think it’s one of the best they’ve ever been on.”

First things first, we had to gear up and learn the basics.

Miles explains, “Now reach down and grab the yellow and green knot where they come together in the front and wiggle that up like a weird pair of pants. We use a chest harness, too, a lot of places do not, but it just kind of lets you relax more and lean back. We’ll hit 35 miles an hour on a couple and over 40 miles an hour on the last one, but we start out slow and short, get your skills down. Welcome to flight school everybody. We’re going to teach you guys how to sit in your harness, relax and how to get break signals so we bring you in really smooth to our platforms.”

After flight school, it was time for the real thing. Don’t worry, they start off small, but once you’ve mastered your skills, it’s time to kick it up a notch. The fun wasn’t limited to the tree tops. The full tour also consisted of three short hikes and multiple aerial bridges.

“We also have a chipmunk tour that covers five of our zip lines, two hike and two bridges.”

While it’s understandable to be nervous, especially if you have a fear of heights, Miles says not to worry. 

“I’d put our guides up against anyone in the world for their safety and their instruction, helping people get through the course.”

Along with safety, Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour prides itself on being eco-friendly and not damaging the trees.

For more information on the Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour, click here

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