Third Post

SOUTHEASTERN TREE CLIMBING 

WORKSHOP & REUNION

2014-10-05 00.04.11

September 10-13, 2015

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WHO: All adventure, research and educational tree climbers and interested land-management/recreation leaders.

WHAT: Southeastern Tree Climbing Workshop, sponsored by the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (WRD-DNR), and co-sponsored by the Global Organization of Tree Climbers (GOTC)

WHERE: The 6,400-acre Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Georgia, southeast of Atlanta

WHEN: September 10-13, 2015 (typically dry, with daytime highs in the low 80s and overnight lows in the lower 60s)

WHY: To improve climbing skills and wilderness ethics, meet outdoor professionals interested in recreational tree climbing, and climb with those people you only know through the internet

ESTIMATED COST: (Might change slightly due to unexpected expenses) $210 for lodging, meals and all activities (sharing of lodge rooms may be necessary to keep costs low); $170 for camping, meals and all activities; $20 for all-day Saturday activities and lunch. (Any funds left over after expenses will be donated to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center)

CONTACT & RESERVATIONS: Jody Rice, Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, jody.rice@dnr.state.ga.us  

This is the same workshop that was sponsored by Georgia DNR in 2004-2007 at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. The workshop had to be cancelled for a number of years after tornadoes tore through the park and totally destroyed the sleeping cabins and lodge/dining hall, uprooted hundreds of the tallest trees and filled the park lake with tons of debris. It will be several more years before that site is restored, but we don’t want to wait any longer to create a stronger bond between the recreational tree-climbing community and the agencies that manage our parks and wild lands.

“Although this is a regional workshop that likely will attract climbers from the Southeastern U.S., it is open to any tree climber from anywhere,” said Bill Maher, vice president of GOTC and one of the volunteer organizers. “One goal of this workshop is to encourage climbers to go home and find ways to work with local, state or national agencies in their area.”

Another goal, Maher said, “is to encourage climbers to organize and host regional workshops in their part of the country. A big complaint I get is that too many events are held in the Southeast. But many of the most active tree climbers live in the Southeast so naturally we’re going to do something close to our homes. Others could do the same near their homes. That’s probably the best way to make recreational tree climbing grow.”

Maher said in the past the Georgia DNR workshop attracted new climbers who were not able for one reason or another to attend the annual international Tree Climbing Rendezvous held every fall at various locations. “The annual Rendezvous is an awesome event that all climbers need to attend when possible,” he said, “but we realize that a lot of younger climbers and college researchers just don’t have the time or money to travel thousands of miles for a conference, so a regional workshop is probably the right alternative.”

 And Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is the ideal location to re-start the workshops in the Southeast. Jody Rice, a veteran tree-climbing instructor and experiential educator with WRD-DNR, said Charlie Elliott has it all: more than a dozen canoeing and fishing lakes, miles of hiking trails, world-class bird and wildlife watching opportunities, a lodge with plenty of hotel-style guest rooms, excellent dining and meeting facilities, a convenient location, and – most of all – hundreds of acres of old-growth and second-growth hardwoods and pines.

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is less than an hour’s drive from Atlanta International Airport and is only minutes away from Interstates 20 and 75. It is located off Georgia Highway 11 near the town of Mansfield, southeast of Atlanta.

In addition to tree climbing, workshop participants can practice other outdoor and woodcraft skills with DNR staff and volunteers from other organizations at no extra cost, and check out Project Adventure’s on-site challenge course.  Those climbers with culinary talents are invited to help prepare the Saturday night Tree Climbers’ Dinner to be held under the picnic pavilion at the S.R. Campbell Aquatic Center next to Lake Margaret at the wildlife center. All other meals will be professionally prepared and served in the conference center’s dining hall.

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