Test your courage at Kingston’s new tree-climbing park

A new tree-climbing park has opened in Kingston behind the Village Green Community Center, offering guests, young and old, the chance to climb as high as they wish on four 50-foot-tall trees.

The park is run by Joel Schwarcz, an outdoor enthusiast who is an avid rock climber and a former guide for rafting and backpacking trips. He also previously did industrial rope access on bridges, dams and wind turbines, as well as for projects in Seattle, including the Space Needle and T-Mobile Park. Additionally, he travels the country on occasion giving exams on rope access.

Now, as he settles into his life in Kingston he is focused on his new business Elevated Adventures, which the tree-climbing park is part of.

“We wanted to create something fun for the community we live in…and discover some courage as you go up higher than you think you normally would,” Schwarcz said.

Schwarcz is leasing roughly 5-6 acres for the park. To climb the trees, participants need to be at least 25 pounds and no more than 310 pounds. Kids 12 and younger need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Maximum capacity is 15 guests.

Other features include a balance beam, slackline, hammock and picnic table. One hour of climbing for adults is $19, it’s $15 for teens and $12 for kids. There’s a membership pack that provides 10 climbs at a discount.

“Most people by the end of the hour are completely exhausted,” Schwarcz said.

Schwarcz said the best way to make a reservation is online at elevatedadventures.com but guests can also book in-person if space is available. A waiver also needs to be signed, and each participant goes through a brief orientation with Schwarz where they have to show him they understand the process before climbing.

Rock climbing holds are attached to each tree using ratchet straps. Each tree has three routes based on difficulty that are color coded.

“Guests are connected to an auto belay system that connects to their harness,” Schwarcz said. “As they climb up, the auto belay has a spring that keeps the system tight. When they let go, it automatically lowers them back to the ground at a slow rate of speed.”

On the way up the tree, climbers will pass by milestones signifying their progress. At 20 feet there’s a green strap, at 30 feet a red one, at 40 feet there’s a gold strap, and at the top is a bell to ring. Schwarcz said many people have made it to the top, ranging from a 5-year-old to a 66-year-old.

The park’s opening was Aug. 12 when about 50 people came out, which Schwarcz was proud of as a first-time small-business owner. It is open Thursdays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Schwarcz said he ultimately wants to add ascension bridges, ziplines and aerial obstacles where guests can traverse from tree to tree. Guests would be connected to a safety cable, and the equipment makes it so they can’t disconnect themselves until they’re back on ground.

The trees can be climbed by kids and adults.

The trees can be climbed by kids and adults.