Towering Pines Canopy Tour coming soon to Gunflint Lodge
Exciting things are coming soon to Gunflint Lodge. Ground was broken this week on an exciting new addition to historic lodge. Soon to be up and running on back lots of the lodge property is the Towering Pines Canopy Tour. A canopy tour consists of a system of zip lines and platforms that allow visitors to soar from tree to tree to see the forest from a bird’s eye view. Canopy tours originated in Costa Rica in the 1990s.
Gunflint Lodge owner Bruce Kerfoot has kept the secret for quite awhile as he researched how a canopy tour would work on the unused, forested area of Gunflint Lodge. He believes the firm he has hired, Challenge Design Innovations, Inc. of Pineola, North Carolina, has come up with a perfect fit for the Northwoods. Challenge Design will work with Edwin E. Thoreson, Inc. to erect the towers. And then, said Kerfoot the North Carolina crew will work from ropes to get the platforms built around sturdy 200-year old white pines.
One segment of the canopy tour includes a 900-foot run over a valley. Another segment overlooks Lonely Lake. Another requires a bold step off a cliff. However, this is not just a thrill ride, explained Kerfoot.
The Towering Pines Canopy Tour is a two-hour adventure with eight components, transporting people from platform to platform among the trees. At each station, a naturalist will talk about the region, dealing with everything from the birds and wildlife to vegetation and the history of the voyageurs. “It’s half a naturalist tour and half an adventure,” said Kerfoot.
It’s also the first canopy tour in the state of Minnesota, Kerfoot declares proudly. There are other single zip lines and rope courses, but this is the only extensive canopy tour. It is scheduled to be open at the beginning of July. The cost of the two-hour adventure will be $79.
Gunflint Lodge staff will be trained and the course will be built to national standards established by the Association of Challenge Course Technology, Kerfoot added, stressing that the tour is safe for all ages. In fact, he said more adults than kids are taking part in canopy tours around the world. “It’s an adventure in a learning mode. And for people who are getting older, it’s a way to get out in nature. You don’t have to paddle. You don’t have to carry a pack. Some of the participants are in their 80s,” Kerfoot said.
And what would Kerfoot’s mother, the late Gunflint Lodge matriarch Justine Kerfoot think of this newest enterprise? “I think she’d be first in line,” said Kerfoot.
If you’d like to get in line for the Towering Pines Canopy Tour, contact Gunflint Lodge at (218) 388-2296 or watch for information at www.gunflint.com.