Park Briefs—Spring 2021

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French Broad and Quarry Park Complete Operation Accreditation

After more than six years of planning, the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) Operation Accreditation program launched July 15, 2020. On Dec. 23, 2020, French Broad Adventures in North Carolina and Quarry Park Adventures in California became the first two ACCT Accredited Operations after completing the lengthy, yet beneficial, process.

“This accreditation, along with our professional vendor member accreditation, represent the gold standard for the challenge course industry,” said ACCT executive director Shawn Tierney in a statement on the ACCT website, in which he congratulated French Broad and Quarry Park. “Accreditation confirms that the company operates at the highest level of performance, abides by ACCT standards, and is well equipped to manage the risks associated with adventure experiences.

“Equally as important, accreditation provides the general public, insurers, and authorities having jurisdiction assurance that the program has been ‘vetted’ and thoroughly reviewed by an outside credentialing body,” added Tierney.

The Operation Accreditation program was a hot topic during the 2021 ACCT Conference. French Broad Adventures owner Korey Hampton—who is board liaison on the ACCT Accreditation and Certification Committee, and also sits on the Operation Accreditation Panel—called the accreditation process “a growth opportunity” during the Open Discussion for Owners/Operators session. She hailed how valuable it was to conduct such a thorough review of operations.

The program may also produce other benefits, such as decreased insurance rates. Hampton said that may take a while, though, because data needs to be collected over time, and more programs need to become accredited to build data for insurers to reference. She estimated this may take 3–5 years.

A separate Operation Accreditation seminar focused on how the process works, with an emphasis on how to successfully navigate it. In brief form, the message was, “read every word of Chapter 2” of the ANSI/ACCT Standards and make sure you meet every requirement. Compliance includes documenting everything you have done to meet the standards. Address any shortcomings before applying for accreditation, several panelists said, and consult with outside expertise (such as an accreditation program reviewer) to address questions you might have prior to submitting an application.

A question arose during the Dialogue with ACCT Leadership session about if accredited operations would have votes similar to those of ACCT Professional Vendor Members within the association. That is yet to be determined.

PRCA Hosts Hybrid Conference

The Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) held a hybrid conference Feb. 25-28, with in-person meetings at the Lake Aurora Christian Camp and Retreat Center in Lake Wells, Fla., augmented by streamed and pre-recorded online sessions. Certification seminars Feb. 24-25 preceded the conference itself.

Roughly 15 to 20 persons braved Covid restrictions and limitations to show up for the onsite presentations, and another 50 or so attended virtually. PRCA founding member and board vice president Steve Gustafson of EBL Zip Line Tours termed the overall result a success.

The in-person and online sessions covered a range of subjects, from Covid gear cleaning and social distancing practices and ANSI/PRCA training standards to some less typical topics, including land leases and agreements and the use of service animals at ropes courses. A Kong factory tour was also on the agenda, along with ample time to sample the camp’s facilities—including the Kong Coudou Pro continuous belay system.

Gustafson said the conference took several steps to make it possible to hold the in-person sessions. For one, attendees spent as much time outdoors as possible, to enable social distancing and provide hands-on experiences. When indoors, attendees were widely separated, and doors and windows were kept open to enhance air circulation.

PRCA plans to hold its annual conference in person next year, once again in Florida.

Experiential Systems Opens West Coast Office

Experiential Systems Incorporated (ESI) has opened an office in Bend, Ore., to better serve West Coast clients of the Illinois-based company. ESI named Jonathan Lumb its West Coast regional services director. Lumb has more than a decade of industry experience, most recently as lead inspector for Adventure Development Team.

“I am very pleased that Jonathan will be joining our team,” said ESI president Keith Jacobs.

“Joining Experiential Systems is a perfect transition for me, as their team shares my dedication to design, experience, and safety,” said Lumb.

Visit www.experientialsystems.com for more information.

ICYMI

At the onset of the pandemic, the world was changing quickly, and we all had to make adjustments. For Adventure Park Insider, it meant changing our editorial plans to meet the industry’s needs, and switching to a digital format to reach readers wherever Covid led them.

We know your attention has been pulled in many different directions over the past year. So, just in case you missed it, here’s a sampling of articles from the last four issues of Adventure Park Insider that are well worth hopping online to read.

Spring 2020:

Keeping Employees Happy by Paul Thallner

Genuine concern for employees’ well-being can keep them smiling and productive.

Your Digital Audience by Gregg Blanchard

Where and how should you spend your marketing dollars? Here’s a guide.

Don’t Waver with Waivers by Cameron Annas

When crafted properly, waivers can be a valuable tool for adventure operations.

Summer 2020:

Creating Diversity in the Outdoor Industry
by Rachel Maestri-Hailey

A six-step program can help you bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to your operation.

Take Your Training Online by Katie Brinton

Cyber-training options are expanding fast.

Alternate Plans by Paul Cummings

The pandemic proves the value of financial planning and forward thinking.

Fall 2020:

Guiding Lights by Katie Brinton

Profiles of seven up-and-coming leaders.

One Eye on the Trees by Timothy Slape

Monitor signs of stress in your trees to catch problems early.

Website Accessibility by David Gibson

What you need to know about making your website ADA accessible.

Winter 2021:

State of the Industry Report by Sarah Borodaeff

Aerial adventure operations fared surprisingly well in 2020, as our State of the Industry Report demonstrates.

The Shape of 2021 by The Editors

A roundtable discussion ponders lessons learned and trends that will endure.

Inspection Prep by Corey Wall

Take these steps to help wring the greatest benefit from your annual inspection.

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