Slackline, Hammock, and Rope Swing Policy

The Governance Committee has passed a policy that prohibits the use of slacklines, hammocks, and rope swings in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

The policy states, “In accordance with the Preserve’s mission statement, and in order to maintain the health and vitality of the trees and vegetation in the Preserve while minimizing personal safety risks for all users, the Preserve prohibits the use and attachment of weight bearing ropes, slings, belts, bands, and assorted other attachments to trees and/or posts within the Lakeshore Nature Preserve for recreation or leisure purposes. This specifically includes slacklines, hammocks and rope swings.”

(A slackline is typically a flat nylon rope anchored between 2 points that people can walk or balance on and/or perform acrobatic movements.)

The Committee based their decision on several factors:

  1. The Preserve is managed as a conservation area. Trees within the Preserve are not evaluated with regards to safety, stability and strength for use with active recreational activities. Some trees, especially those off-trail, may be weak wooded or in decline and are left to fall in place to provide natural bio-habitat in the Preserve.
  2. Mechanical attachments to trees, especially oaks and elms, can result in wounds and injuries increasing susceptibility of these trees to vascular diseases and insect infestations, despite best efforts to protect the tree while attaching equipment.
  3. Posts for attaching these devices are not permitted because they may damage federally protected buried archeological sites prevalent throughout the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.
  4. Slacklining is permitted in a number of Madison City Parks.