Our Universe is Expanding
In the early months of the pandemic, Adventure Park Insider hosted a couple of Huddles with our colleagues across the Atlantic. Vertex Training in the UK helped us bring together a variety of voices from all over the UK and Europe to share experiences, knowledge, and resources. The feedback for this multi-continental collaboration was positive, so with continuing assistance from Vertex, we will expand it. In this issue, you can find two overseas stories, “Adventurous By Nature” and “Safe and Sound,” beginning on page 57.
Another pandemic silver lining? A surge in interest among people to participate in outdoor recreation. Data from the Outdoor Foundation’s (OF) survey of 600 new outdoor participants found that these newcomers were more likely to be female, younger, living in an urban area, and slightly more ethnically diverse than existing participants.
This got us thinking about universal design (UD), a concept that encourages the creation of opportunities for anyone who wishes to participate, at any level they desire. Historically, UD has been aimed at creating equitable access for people with disabilities; it has come to encompass creating access for all people, regardless of age and physical, emotional, or other limitations.
UD has heightened relevance, given those new participants in OF’s survey. These folks were most engaged by activities that had low barriers to entry—walking, running, biking, and hiking. Our industry can capture these recreators via aerial adventures that serve people of a wide range of experiences, abilities, and comfort levels. UD, in short. We share a primer on UD (“Access for All”) and look at three new UD installations (“Building with Accessibility in Mind”) starting on page 42.
Our staff is expanding, too. Founding editor Rick Kahl is semi-retiring, but he will retain an active role in the magazine. Dave Meeker is stepping up as editor, and Katie Brinton is joining us as senior editor. Katie has been contributing to API and our sister magazine, SAM, over the past three years. A ski instructor and trainer at Okemo, Vt., and SNOW Operating, she received the Rising Star award from the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) in 2020 and is about to complete her master’s degree in English from Middlebury College.