Slacklining is not a crime: Parks says drafting guidelines after Cal Anderson confrontation


Untitled, originally uploaded by Keith Caswell.

How mixed-up crazy is the world when CHS is posting about stolen sex toys and the Slog is going on and on about Cal Anderson Park?

Take it away, Stranger:

Who Do You Side With? The Slackliner or the Tree Protectors?
Let’s bring this debate back. It’s been a while, and in any case it’s still an issue in Cal Anderson Park, where on Sunday I was picnicking with some friends when the above slackliner got into a long standoff with the above tree protectors.


It was a polarizing moment for my party of onlooking picnickers. Some sided immediately with the trees. Others sided immediately with the slackliner.

Eli Sanders has gone on to post video of the confrontation, a note from the slackliner involved, Adam Burtle, and information from Seattle Parks that indicates the department is interested in working with participants to recognize the activity as an “emerging form of recreation.”

In summary: Slacklining is not a crime.

A Parks rep also tells the Stranger the department is working on guidelines for the slackliners and invited Burtle to help in the process. Any suggestions for the Seattle Parks Slacklining Handbook?

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19 thoughts on “Slacklining is not a crime: Parks says drafting guidelines after Cal Anderson confrontation

  1. I cant believe something like slacklining gets people so worked up in seattle…sigh, maybe ‘THEY’ have won after all.

  2. It seems to me that this “sport” does no harm to a tree, as long as the slackline is padded, but I believe there is a legitimate safety concern….What if someone on a bicycle did not see the line and ran into it? Couldn’t this cause significant injury?

    Watching the video, I must say that Adam Burtle (while obviously well-informed) seems quite self-righteous.

  3. I’ve had these kind of run-ins before. There are two main issues and he touches on both of them in the video:
    1. Safety. It’s a “liability” for the city. The counter-argument is that bike polo, basketball, volleyball, and kids on playgrounds are also potentially unsafe, but they’re not illegal.
    2. Tree/property damage. This is harder to counter, but working with city council and showing them the evidence that using padding on a sufficiently sized tree will prevent damage, should be the right way to go about it.

  4. The guy is a star.

    Parks does need a policy. I have bad balance, to do this is amazing. Looks fun, good exercise.

    The Stranger vs. The C. H. Blog?

  5. Must be pretty proud of himself for his 15 minutes of quasi fame. Slightly annoying via video to watch, and reminiscent of the front of the class ‘know it all’ me and friends enjoyed mocking in class back when. While I support the push for a policy and what they are going after, I have a question: if I don’t for some reason see a slack line on a run or walk and trip and injure myself over it, he and his cohorts would be totally cool with me suing him for my injuries right? Also – I have witnessed no padded trees, this is not ok.

  6. The arch of trees in the middle of Cal Anderson Park the slackliners favor are all Acer campestre, aka Hedge Maple. They are part of the original 1904 Olmsted Brothers plan and as such were carefully and thoughtfully preserved when the park was renovated in 2001-2005. They are often called “the historic arch of trees” by Seattle Parks, landscape architects and parks activists, and the park site is, of course, a Seattle Historic Landmark.
    Peevish arguments such as “I represent 300 people”, “I don’t have any money for a permit”, “Other people break the rules”, etc. are meaningless. It’s about the trees. Let the arborists decide.

  7. … is that they’ve got the time and resources to bother people about things like slacklining (I don’t care one way or the other), but they seem to turn a blind eye to the open alcohol containers, drug use, and harassment of people enjoying the park.

    I don’t care. Just be consistent, park ranger guys – protect the park or don’t. Just don’t half-ass it.

  8. Agreed on the annoying video and no padding = not ok.

    Who would you sue if you trip over someone sunbathing in the park? Or a volleyball net? Or if a basketball rolls in front of you? Would you sue the people partaking in that activity? Or the city? Or just say, “Oops, I should be more careful about where I run or walk”?

  9. I think this guy did a fantastic job of handling himself and the authority figures. It takes a lot of self-control there to hold his ground without blowing up.

  10. And likewise to the uniformed officeers, dealing w/ chumps who fany themselves know it alls takes a lot of self restraint as well.

  11. The city should put in artificial trunks for this purpose. Make it a sort of art installation so it’d be interesting to the eye.

  12. …love this idea …. go for the good and leave the real trees out … the long slack line only needs anchoring at bothe ends … how do we start? I will talk to the CHCC …

  13. The other thing that bothers me about this video, aside from Adam’s smarmy self-righteousness, is that the whole thing was obviously set-up by him to post to his website (the web address is clearly visible on the clip), and to promote his “slacklining community.” Whoever filmed the clip was not just a casual passer-by…he was there intentionally to film the encounter should a park ranger appear…in fact, my guess is that a complaint call was actually made by the slackliners, to ensure that a ranger appeared. And Adam’s various arguments, although well-articulated, seemed very rehearsed explicitly for this video.

  14. I agree.

    Additionally, most of his arguments were irrelevant for a City of Seattle Park. It does not matter what happens in Yosemite or what other people in the park are doing.

  15. Cops lie. Sometimes they do so out of malice, sometimes out of arrogance, and sometimes out of simple ignorance. And if they lie about something as banal as slacklining, it is reasonable to assume that they lie about more important things.

    Remember this the next time you hear the cops or the corporate media give their version of a story.

  16. How cynical….and, for the most part, untrue.

    Maybe you will some day realize that most cops are not “pigs”…that is a very juvenile attitude.

    And, for the record, the older fellow in the video is not a cop…he is a park ranger, which is a whole other thing.