Whether you have recently been amazed by slacklining masters on YouTube, or a friend invited you to try slacklining for yourself, you’re bound to be excited by the possibilities of this sport when you first encounter it. The next question you may ask yourself is harder — is slacklining bad for trees? In other words, is it ethical?
What Is Slacklining?
While people have been trying to master gravity in all sorts of ways since… the dawn of time itself, the sport of slacklining is very new in the grand scheme of things, with a history of only around 40 years. Incredibly similar to tightrope walking to onlookers, slacklining is, in fact, unique. People who practice slacklining balance, walk and perform exercises on synthetic webbing anchored to two points. Beginners can call keeping their balance for more than a few seconds a success, while the most advanced practitioners can do absolutely amazing things on slacklines, including skipping rope!
Slacklining has, up until now, been a relatively fringe activity. As awareness of the sport grows, however, increasing numbers of novices feel called to try slacklining out for themselves. The reasons that attract people to slacklining are many. Some want to get fit or try something new and exciting, while others get into slacklining to improve their balance in order to excel at other sports. Yet others use slacklining as a physical therapy aid or a form of meditation, with slackline yoga becoming more and more popular as time goes on.
How Does Slacklining Impact Trees?
Although the anchor points used to secure a slackline can be made of nearly anything, and may even be metal poles, trees are most often used for this purpose, regardless of the setting. Slacklining can impact the health of the trees used as anchor points negatively in a variety of ways:
- Slacklining can cause the bark of the trees to erode, especially when the same trees are used as anchor points routinely. This ultimately threatens the tree’s very life. The more vigorous the exercises performed on the slackline, the greater the potential damage.
- Permanent dents can be created when the slackline is attached at a tree’s weaker points, harming the tree as well as, potentially, the people slacklining.
- If a tree chosen as a slacklining anchor point is too weak, it may even be downed.
How Can Slackliners Protect Trees?
Apart from the obvious answer, which would be to use non-tree anchor points, slackliners can take some important steps to protect tree health. They include slacklining trees only if they have a diameter of at least 12 inches, and not turning to the same set of trees time and time again for exercises. Using tree protection gear for slacklining, which can be bought on Amazon and serves to protect the bark, is another crucial step. To go the extra mile in safeguard the tree as well as your personal safety, tree slings can be used. These decrease the tension the tree will be subject to.
In conclusion, slacklining can be extremely bad for trees. With the right steps, however, slacklines can be placed responsibly in a way that does not cause damage to trees.
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