The city of Davis has approved a 12-month pilot program permitting slacklining — think tightrope walking, on a slack rope — at three parks in town.
Slackliners walk on a span of nylon climbing or slackline webbing, positioned horizontally above the ground and anchored at two fixed points.
The pilot program, which began last December, will continue until this December. Fans of the hobby hope to demonstrate its popularity to the city of Davis Recreation and Park Commission.
Slacklining is permitted in Oak Grove Park, 1900 Donner Ave., behind the Davis Athletic Club; Covell Park, between Del Oro and Faro streets, adjacent to the tennis courts; and on the Covell Greenbelt, between Anza, Catalina and Bella Casa streets.
The average distance between the trees at these sites ranges from 100 to 200 feet. The city does not allow slacklines to be longer than 200 feet or more than 4 feet off the ground.
Jerry Miszewski, 27, is an avid slackliner.
“I think the local sites are great,” he said. “Hopefully, this sport will begin to pick up interest here so slacklining will be available anywhere.”
He says great balance is required, of course, to be a successful slackliner, but “it is also important to control your breathing while on the line. It’s not just about getting across, it’s about balancing and enjoying every time you are out there.”
Miszewski is the founder of Balance Community Slackline Outfitters. His company works on creating slacklining equipment and apparel. He founded the company four years ago, when he moved to Davis.
Slacklining is allowed only during daylight hours, and unattended slacklines will be removed. Slackliners are asked to ensure that no damage is done to the trees that are used as anchors.
“One of the most important rules of slacklining is protecting the trees we’re anchoring to,” Miszewski said.
Businesses providing slacklining training or classes are prohibited from using the three sites during the 12-month pilot program, and groups of 50 or more people are required to obtain a special event permit through the city of Davis Community Services Office.