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Monee man rents tree to climbers

June 22, 2009 at 04:54 AM

The Southtown Star

MONEE (AP) - Oh, why don’t you just go climb a tree.

Amid the fields and forested areas of rural Monee lives a man who wants to help you do just that.

“It’s kind of addictive,” said Mark Larson, a self-employed carpenter turned tree guru.

Larson recently cleared a field around a 300-year-old oak tree on his property. Dubbed Goliath, the tree now is rigged with climbing ropes and stabilizers, beckoning helmet-clad adventurers to scale its mighty branches.

“Kids love this, and what adult can’t remember climbing a tree?” he said. “It’s fun, it’s a good workout, and when I come down, I am so relaxed. It’s like it has a calming effect.”

Each Sunday afternoon, Larson invites the public to tackle Goliath. For $20 a person, he provides helmet, harness, gloves and guidance.

“Just wear some sturdy tennis shoes, and you’re good to go,” he said.

Larson hopes to eventually turn more of his property into a camp-like mecca for outdoor lovers, replete with tiki huts, bonfires, nearby fishing and even tree boats - hammocks designed specifically for tree-top overnights.

But for now, though, he just wants to show people the joy of climbing.

“It can be as hard or as easy as you want,” he said, adding that a two- or three-hour climb would be an ideal outing for Scouts.

“If you get tired, you can just hang around,” he said. “Relax, swing, try the (upside-down) bat hang.”

Larson learned how to climb from Tree Climbers International, an Atlanta-based group begun by arborist Peter Jenkins, who wanted to unite people who love to climb trees and provide safety information to those who were interested in becoming climbers.

Jenkins began his mission in 1983, but apparently the desire to hang out on tree limbs only now is sweeping the nation.

“It’s really big out west,” said Larson, who is trained in rescue techniques. He has taken three different kinds of climbing classes th rough the tree climbers group.

“It’s a totally safe way to see some terrific views,” Larson said.

Kyle Krenmuller, 11, has spied cardinals, squirrels and tree frogs on his six or seven attempts to scale the massive Goliath.

“It’s cool. You get up on that branch and push off, and you almost feel like you’re flying,” said Kyle, who also lives Monee.

“The first time I was very nervous. But you set a goal and then each time you make it, you set a new one.”

Larson said tree climbing is a great confidence builder for kids and a chance for adults to revisit their youth.

Larson’s tree is open from 2 to 5 p.m. the first and third Sundays of every month (except December, January and February), weather permitting. Reservations are not required, but would-be climbers are advised to call ahead for directions and if they plan to bring a group of six or more.

The cost is $20 per climber, and there must be at least five people on hand to participate .

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

why on earth would you want to pay 20 bucks to climb a tree just go in a woods or your yard and climb that is the funniest thing i have ever heard

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/22 at 11:12 AM

They should send this story to the tribune, lawyers would be driving down there by the thousands for a chance to fall out of that tree. That $20 won’t even cover half a day’s parking in downtown Chicago to go to the hearing.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/22 at 02:27 PM

This is the correct way to climb a tree. You should go there a spend $20 and see what it is like before you make a judgment. It is quite a feeling to climb out onto a limb and be 30 ft in the air with nothing holding you but a piece of rope. That is one thing I have noticed on these comment pages is that people are closed minded and think that there way is the only way.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/23 at 12:26 PM

well it may be the correct way but y pay 20 buckaroos when you could go and climb one for free in your yard or a woods

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/23 at 03:31 PM

to each their own.I bet you could more than one tree stand in a 300 yr. old Oak tree with all of the acorns dropping in the fall.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/23 at 10:01 PM

Tree Climbers International? LOL. I can see a new class being taught at a university near you soon,I’m sure they could lobby for a grant. We will have a tree climbing park or two, but then we probably are already funding a couple of them now somewhere. Sorry for the negativity but isn’t this how these special interest groups get started? But hey if the guy can get somebody to pay him for climbing his tree…Well theres one born every minute. Heck maybe they can tell us whats running around in that standing corn. I think people have way to much time on their hands.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/25 at 09:09 AM

Actually I did take a class at WIU. One of the best classes I have had. We learned about rigging, knots, chainsaws and different cuts. If you are going into Forestry or wanting to be an Arborist it is a very useful class to take. It was what they call an add on class which means it was very late in the afternoon so it wouldn’t conflict with other classes. Don’t criticize what you don’t understand.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/25 at 09:42 AM

“One of the best classes I have had” well I am glad you enjoyed your knots and chainsaw class and I hope it was helpful in your employment into one of the two above mention fields of work. However my comments where not about career classes, it was about a guy renting out his tree and perhaps a poor attempt at a little humor on my part. Read the article again an I’m sure you will understand. outdoors81 you need to lighten up man, I hear tree climbing is very relaxing.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/25 at 10:41 AM

I think tree climbing with equipment is a fantastic idea!  Great article… however, no address, phone number or anykind of listing to get in touch with Mr. Larson.  This information would have been nice.  One would be driving all over Monee for over an hour looking for this place.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 10:39 AM

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