Christopher Barkman always wanted a new perspective of the Prairies, so he became an arborist.
While getting paid to climb trees seemed like a dream job for Barkman, he wanted to share the treetop experience with others.
“It’s such a remarkable way to discover the natural world wherever you are, particularly this beautiful city of ours,” Barkman said.
“You can become an eco tourist in your own city.”
Barkman became a tree climbing facilitator and started his own business in Winnipeg. He has brought people of all ages up the trees, from five year olds to an 80 year old.
“It’s really amazing to watch someone’s resilience as you initially are climbing the rope,” Barkman said.
“You’re dangling 20, 30 feet in the air but as soon as you get into the tree, it’s almost like the tree embraces you and your nervous system just calms down.”
Barkman follows protocols from Tree Climbers International and Tree Climbing Canada, which ensure the tree has been inspected by a certified arborist and any hazards have been addressed.
“There are cambium savers over the branches to protect the trees from any injury from the rope… rated safety harnesses, auto locking carabiners, climbing knots and we back up the climbing system with safety knots,” Barkman said. “The foot loop lets you step and then you advance your knot.”
Barkman’s goal is to help Winnipeggers appreciate their home city with friends and family during the summer. He organizes tree climbing at different parks throughout the city.