Climbing Trees in Danville

allan manning in a treeDANVILLE - People often associate the Northeast Kingdom with adventure sports - skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking. Danville's Allan Manning is hoping to add tree climbing to that list.

Manning's business, Twin Pines Recreational Tree Climbing, is based on 35 acres of land in Danville. The trees tower overhead. Some are over a hundred feet tall, though visitors rarely climb higher than sixty feet. Manning offers two courses. The first is a three-hour course, in which visitors take a brief safety course before being turned loose on trees 20-40 feet high.

 

The second course, which lasts a day and a half, features one day of intense training. On the second day, said Manning, "I give the person all the equipment. We go out, select a tree, and they do everything themselves. They get the ropes into the trees, they tie the knots, and they do the climbing."

"And once that's done," Manning added, "it's a success."

Manning's business is tourist-based. He said that he regularly sees visitors from New York, Boston and the southern New England states, while Twin Pines' web site features testimonials from as far away as Taiwan. Manning himself is not from the area - born in Montreal, he spent twenty-five years working on planes in the French city before relocating to Hartford for work.

"You hear about voices?" Manning said of his move to Danville. "I got a voice. It told me, you gotta buy this property, and I've never looked back since."

Manning's land in Danville is home to more than just tree climbing. It also houses a zipline and a treehouse, which can be rented by those participating in the tree climbing courses. He built it all himself, using wood cleared from the land.

"I turned from a city person who couldn't use a wrench into someone now who has five, six chainsaws," Manning said. "Cutting all day, working all day, it's a different lifestyle altogether, but my wife and I really enjoy it."

Though his business isn't a stunning economic success - Manning admits that he's breaking even once costs are considered - he's thankful for the opportunity to live his hobby.

"If you wanna have a lot of fun, and really enjoy yourself, come out and try it," Manning said. "People from around this area, they've been tree climbing their whole life - free limb climbing, basically. They think that's what it's all about. But it's not."