New ropes course at San Francisco's McLaren Park offers aerial challenges

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Sunday, November 22, 2020
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San Francisco Parks and Recreation held a soft opening for the new aerial ropes course in McLaren Park on Saturday. 10 residents took to the trees to test it out.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 10 eager residents took to the treetops Saturday at John McLaren Park in San Francisco, clambering through the soft opening of a new ropes course.

The course, led by trained Outward Bound educators, was open for the first of four free community days in November: this weekend, and next.

There are ground-level team challenges and loftier features like logs and bridges slung between poles several feet off the ground.

Bravery is definitely put the test through a variety of novel aerial challenges, including a "centipede ladder."

The contraption is a ladder made of rope and wood suspended in the air, meant to be climbed as it sways in the wind.

There is also an "incomplete bridge" that challenges climbers with fortitude to cross a span of increasingly wide-spaced planks attached to steel cables slung between poles.

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Located in the Wilde Overlook area of the park, on the city's southeastern edge, the course is the product of a partnership between the city's recreation and park department and Outward Bound California.

City officials say the goal of the challenges, besides getting past that first glimpse of the ground below, is to provide a mix of leadership training, character development and recreation.

This course is intended to help in those areas especially for schools and nonprofits serving students from low-income communities.

In addition, elements of the course have been made accessible to students with disabilities, according to city officials.

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For those worried about the coronavirus, a maximum of 10 people are allowed on the course.

There are also helmets and harnesses for safety purposes.

To get on the waiting list for future free community programs or to bring a school group, Outward Bound can be contacted here.

Bay City News contributed to this report.