Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours Open April 18
By WestKyStar Staff
MARION, IL - Illinois’ first entirely tree-based, eco-friendly zip line canopy tour, located on 83 wooded acres surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest south of Marion, is scheduled to open April 18.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour will consist of eight zip lines, the longest stretching more than 1,100 feet, which will zig-zag across the property’s bluffs and through the valley. The tour will also include 11 platforms high in the trees, three aerial suspension bridges, the longest stretching 180 feet, and two short ground hikes.
Guests will feel the rush of safely soaring through the forest at speeds topping 35 miles per hour while learning about the ecology, geology and history of the area from two trained guides who will lead each group of eight guests.
“Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour is going to be more exciting and more educational than any other outdoor attraction in the Midwest,” said Marc Miles, developer of Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour. “People can experience zip lines in any number of places, but we are creating a full outdoor experience that combines the rush of flying among the treetops with learning about the flora, fauna and natural history of the area along the way. There’s really nothing else like it, and we couldn’t be more excited about the grand opening.”
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour broke ground in December 2012 and is scheduled to open to the public on April 18. The three-hour tour experience will cost $85 per person. Groups of eight or more will receive a 10 percent discount on admission. Guests must weigh at least 70 pounds to participate.
The tour is located on private ground surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest in Makanda, Ill. Other nearby tourist attractions include the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and Giant City State Park. Guests will be able to access the tour site from Interstate 57. The tour expects to draw guests from throughout the Midwest and throughout the country.
In addition to the three-hour tour, the facility will include a welcome center, concessions and a gift shop. Interested individuals and groups will be able to book tours on line soon at http://shawneezip.com. Guests can also arrive without a reservation, but tours will be given on a first come, first served basis, and guests with reservations will have priority.
Canopy tours originated in Costa Rica in the 1970s, but their popularity has grown immensely in the United States over the past several years.
The Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour course was designed and built by Geronimo Construction based in Biwabik, Minn. Geronimo specializes in canopy and zip line tours and is known for their low environmental impact design and construction. They also demand strict adherence to safety standards and training.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour is owned and operated by a group led by Dr. Marc Miles and his wife Candy.
Established in 2012, Shawnee Bluff Canopy Tour’s mission is to provide an eco-friendly, easily accessible, exciting and educational new way to expose people of all ages and experience levels to the beauty of the Southern Illinois outdoors.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour was partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism.
Learn more at:
Information provided by Carol Hoffman, Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau.