Zipline Adventure: Zipping Among Treetops

Recently, our extended family—eleven of us—zipped along the treetops at Canopy Tours Northwest on Camano Island. The unique adventure takes place on the historic 134-acre Kristoferson Farm, which has served the community in various capacities for more than one-hundred years. Today, half of the farm is devoted to growing organic hay and lavender, with the other half devoted to the well-designed zipline tour.

Upon first arriving we were assisted in “suiting” up. The harness has lots of straps and adjustments and our outfits were topped off with a hard hat. Each step of the way we were shown how to work with the equipment, what to expect, and how to land on the various platforms.

The zipline tour consists of six separate lines, each landing on a different platform. Between the zipline sections, our guides led us on lush, green trails. I’ll admit to being a little apprehensive with the first zipline “ride.” Stepping off into a void was a little daunting, even with all the clip-ins and safety gear and in the hands of efficient, certified guides. But I soon relaxed into the adventure as I zipped along old-growth forest, reveling in the rush and the zinging ring of the line, with the assurance that I’d land safely on the platform with a guide’s help.

Once I felt safe, which was actually right away, I found it easy to let go of control and trust the guides and the equipment. We were in good, knowledgeable hands. I simply enjoyed the ride.

Along the way our guides explained some of what we were experiencing such as the various species of trees, the diversity of shrubs and ferns, and what wildlife we might see. The views are fantastic and we enjoyed observing our island from aloft. The zipline tour lasted about two hours.

For a fun adventure, I recommend Canopy Tours Northwest. For more information, visit or call 360-387-5807.


Book Review: Exploring Camano Island: A History & Guide

Exploring CamanoVal Schroeder’s Exploring Camano Island: A History & Guide is an enjoyable, informative guide to Camano Island, the second largest island in Island County, Washington. Comma-shaped Camano’s 95 square miles has no town and is connected to the mainland by bridge. The island is about an hour’s drive from Seattle and is nestled on Puget Sound between its larger sister island, Whidbey, and the mainland.

Great strides have been made to ensure that Camano’s wild spaces are being preserved for future generations. Since 1994, more than a dozen nature preserves and parks have been established by islanders working together to protect the land from further development. Even before then, in 1949, 500 local citizens united to create Camano Island State Park, literally in one day. They cleared land to make roads and trails, campsites and picnic areas. They built buildings and picnic tables, and cleared a spring for a clean water source. By the end of the day, that dedicated group had transformed 92 publicly owned acres into a park that is still thriving 65 years later.

The well-organized book has sections identifying Camano’s major nature preserves and protected land. The author describes each place, how it is today, its history, and its legacy and what it contributes to its people and wildlife habitants.

Schroeder quotes the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” It is this principal and commitment that has kept Camano Island a special place for its inhabitants. The author emphasizes the many contributions that individuals and organizations have made through the years to protect and preserve the island’s cherished natural sites.

Val Schroeder, a high school teacher, is a strong advocate for the protection of wildlife and was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation in 2006 as Volunteer of the Year. She resides on Camano Island and has been instrumental in furthering public awareness of wildlife preservation.

Camano Island explorers will find Exploring Camano Island a helpful guide. Those who live on the island will appreciate what it took to make the island the special place it is today. Readers from other areas will learn from how they might manage, preserve or restore their own natural habitats. I highly recommend this enlightening book.