ArborTrek Canopy Adventures News
New Aerial Adventure Park to Open at Fall Creek Falls State Park
Pikeville, Tennessee – ArborTrek Canopy Adventures has teamed up with The Adventure Guild, LLC, a Tennessee-based adventure park builder/operator, to develop an aerial adventure park at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee's largest and most visited state park. The 2.5-hour, self-guided tour consisting of a series of zip lines, suspension bridges and challenge elements is scheduled to open this spring under the operating name "ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls". The Adventure Guild, developer of the ZIPStream Aerial Adventures brand, opened their flagship location at the iconic Ruby Falls in Chattanooga in 2010. Building on the strength and success of the brand, the new adventure park at Fall Creek Falls is the first of several ZIPStream Aerial Adventures' parks the partnership plans to open in coming years.
Tennessee State Parks is among a number of state and local parks adding aerial adventure parks as an amenity to attract new visitors and increase park revenues. ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls was awarded a long-term lease from the State with rights to install and operate an adventure park inside Fall Creek Falls State Park following a request for proposal issued by the State of Tennessee last year. The tour will be independently operated and open to the public on weekends in the spring and fall and daily during the peak summer season. Additionally, the tour will be open to small and large groups by reservation in the off-peak season.
The adventure park at Fall Creek Falls will be designed to accommodate a diverse demographic with opportunities for children as young as 4 years of age to active seniors who are of good health and mobility. Following a thorough ground school and detailed instruction, participants will be provided 2.5-hours to explore the course at their own pace. Six routes, each consisting of 8 to 14 elements, and graded from easy to extreme, will be available. Participants will be encouraged to start on easy routes which are low to the ground and to work their way up to the blue, red, and black courses which can reach heights of 40 feet. Certified guides will be present to provide instruction, encouragement, and assistance as needed. The course will incorporate new smart-belay systems to ensure 100% connectivity to the flexible lifelines that run above the elements and protect participants from falls. The system will provide participants the freedom to make choices regarding the route they take and level of challenge they face.
"It is our goal to provide visitors to the area a highly-engaging, family-friendly adventure with opportunities to soar among the trees, experience nature, learn about themselves and the natural world around them, and to create lasting memories," says Michael Smith, President of ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls. "Our goal of educating, entertaining and inspiring through adventure experiences and immersion into the outdoors is very much in alignment with the mission of Tennessee State Parks." Smith and his partners are passionate about the market and about the opportunity at Fall Creek Falls State Park. "We hope to give visitors to the Park one more reason to return, or to extend their stay for an extra few days."
Designs for the adventure park were recently approved by the Office of the State Architect and have been stamped by a licensed engineer. Installation of platforms and elements is underway and the company is anticipating a Memorial Day Weekend opening. Official opening dates will be announced and posted online at www.zipstreamfallcreekfalls.com in coming weeks. In the meantime, interested parties can follow the build team and learn more about the tour at www.facebook.com/ZIPStreamFCF.
ArborTrek President Elected to Board of Directors of ACCT
Michael Smith, President of ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, LLC, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), the leading standards author and professional trade association for the canopy/zipline and aerial adventure park market.
Founded in 1993, The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) is the world's leading and largest American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Developer focused specifically and solely on the challenge course industry.
ACCT is comprised of a nucleus of more than 2500 members worldwide (including the United States, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Korea and Central America) and continues to develop a global alliance of like-minded organizations.
"This is an exciting time in the market which is experiencing rapid growth, technological advancements, and philosophical changes, " says Smith. "I am very excited to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and give back to the ACCT, an organization which has provided me and our staff with endless networking and personal development opportunities."
To learn more about the Association for Challenge Course Technology, visit www.acctinfo.org.
ArborTrek to Open Two New Eco-Adventures in Smugglers' Notch
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures at Smugglers' Notch, Vermont is expanding its services in the spring and summer of 2013. In addition to the established Zip Line Canopy Tour, which was named one of the "World's Coolest Zip Lines" by Travel + Leisure magazine and one of the best wilderness zip line tours in the U.S. by Outside Online's Adventure Adviser, ArborTrek is building two new aerial adventure courses in the form of a Treetop Obstacle Course and Tree Climbing Adventure. Both courses are scheduled to open by mid-June.
"The new Treetop Obstacle Course and Climbing Adventure are in sharp contrast to our Zip Line Canopy Tour which offers long gravity-fed traverses and requires little exertion by participants," explains ArborTrek Smugglers' Notch president Mike Smith. "The new courses are for participants who are seeking a physical challenge and are ready to work for their adventure."
The Treetop Obstacle Course will blend scenic views with more than 50 unique elements ranging from easy to extremely challenging. Employing new smart-belay technology that insures 100% connectivity to the overhead fall protection system, participants will have the opportunity to navigate from tree platform to tree platform by wobbly bridges, rope swings, cargo nets, balance beams, zip lines and more. A total of five course areas will be available for this summer, two of which will be appropriate for families with children as young as four years of age.
The new courses can be experienced as stand-alone conquests, or incorporated with each other, the Zip Line Canopy Tour, and the new youth or corporate team building programs debuting later this summer.
"The new courses are designed to diversify our product offerings. With the addition of the Treetop Obstacle Course and Climbing Adventures at Smugglers' Notch we can offer a full family of adventures ranging from extreme to serene," says Smith.
ArborTrek's established, award-winning Zip Line Canopy Tour consists of a series of 8 interconnected zip lines, 2 suspension bridges, and 2 rappels. "For those seeking big thrills and beautiful scenery with few physical demands, our Zip Line Canopy Tour is most appropriate," explains Smith. Knowledgeable, friendly guides accompany the zip line tours in small groups, providing entertaining and informative commentary about local flora, fauna, and the lore of Smugglers' Notch.
Experienced guides will also be on hand at the Treetop Obstacle Course and Climbing Adventures to monitor activity from below and provide helpful coaching and encouragement. These courses, according to Smith, are an excellent option for those who are looking for something more physically challenging and budget friendly. "The new elements offer great value at a great price," he says, "They provide a different set of thrills and challenges from our zip line tour and properly round out our range of eco-adventures."
"With the new eco-adventure park and climbing programs, ArborTrek has established a true "adventure hub" for our guests and area visitors," comments Bill Stritzler, managing director of Smugglers' Notch Resort. "Over the years Smugglers' has responded to families' interest in outdoor adventures with a variety of programs that include rock climbing, guided hiking, llama trekking and more, all serving a variety of ages. It's very exciting to further expand our guests' choices with the Treetop Obstacle Course and Climbing Adventure." (For more information on family vacations at Smugglers' Notch Resort, please visit smuggs.com)
ArborTrek Smugglers' Notch Featured on Vermont Public Television Outdoor Journal
Gina Bullard of WCAX joined us in the trees last October for a zip line canopy tour through Vermont's fall foliage. While the zip line canopy tour is open year-round to guests at Smugglers' Notch Resort, locals, and visitors to the region, there is perhaps no better time to go zip lining in than in the fall when foilage is at peak.
If you love Vermont in the fall, you'll love zip lining in Vermont during fall foliage. Check out this 5-minute piece compiled by Gina Bullard for the Outdoor Journal, which aired on Vermont Public Television on April 30, 2013. Thank Gina. We had a great time working with you and your crew.
New England Zip Line Canopy Tour Wins Regional and International Acclaim
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, recognized as one of the "World's Coolest Zip Lines" by Travel + Leisure Magazine and "Best of New England—Editor's Choice" winner by Yankee Magazine, is poised to expand with new zip line canopy tour and eco-adventure park operations across North America.
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures at Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont was recognized in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s April 2012 edition as one of the "World's Coolest Zip Lines". ArborTrek was one of seven zip lines in the United States that made the cut, and the only one in the Northeast. This list includes zip lines from such diverse locales as Costa Rica, South Africa, Thailand and Israel.
Additionally, ArborTrek Smugglers' Notch was named a "Best of New England -- Editor's Choice" winner in the Yankee Magazine May/June 2012 Travel Guide to New England. ArborTrek is one of the 275 “reasons to travel this summer” highlighted in the guide, with the distinction of being designated “Best Breeze in the Trees”.
“We’re honored to receive this type of attention,” says Mike Smith, President of ArborTrek Canopy Adventures and moderator of the zip line blog, Zipline Nirvana. “We owe a lot to the stunning views and beautiful setting that surrounds Smugglers’ Notch Resort and the canopy tour. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re building in such an amazing place.”
Nestled in the picturesque mountains surrounding Smugglers’ Notch Resort, ArborTrek is more than your typical zip line. Operating year-round, the 2.5-hour canopy tour consists of 8 zip lines ranging from 175 to almost 1000 feet in length, 2 wooden sky-bridges and 2 free-rappels. Participants fly through stately groves of Vermont maples, birches, beech and hemlocks, over babbling mountain streams and take in stunning views of the state’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield. Experienced guides soar with small groups throughout the journey, giving helpful tips and coaching nervous flyers, as well as providing entertaining and informative commentary about local flora, fauna, and the lore of Smugglers’ Notch.
Zip lines and eco-adventure parks have grown rapidly in popularity in the United States and Canada over the past eight years. Spurred by new technology, eco-tourism, and the excitement of accessing otherwise difficult to reach terrain, zip lines provide high adventure with little to no special skills or significant physicality required. Some zip lines are thrill rides, pure and simple. But canopy tours, like the tour at ArborTrek Smugglers’ Notch, blend the elation of flying with local ecological discovery and the joy of exploration.
The canopy tour at Smugglers’ Notch is the first in a planned series of canopy tours and eco-adventure parks to be developed by ArborTrek Canopy Adventures across North America over the next few years. For those seeking a more physical challenge, ArborTrek Smugglers’ Notch has a planned expansion for an Aerial Trekking Course to open sometime this summer or early fall. The new tour will be designed to complement the current canopy tour but will be run as a separate activity. The aerial trekking course will consist of 30 or more mid-air elements ranging from balance beams and wobbly bridges to swings, leaps and cargo nets, challenging participants’ stamina, balance, agility and courage.
“We’re thrilled to receive such acclaim for our canopy tour and are excited to continue to offer new outdoor adventures that promote physical fitness, adventure, exploration, and an appreciation for wild places,” says Smith.
To learn more about the “World’s Coolest Zip Lines”, the full Travel + Leisure article can be found at http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-coolest-ziplines
Interested in the Best Places to visit in New England? Look for the Yankee Magazine May/June 2012 issue at stores and news stands now or view their online “Best of” guide at http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/travel/best-vermont-2012/vermont-outdoor-activities-2012
To book your own aerial adventure and to learn more about ArborTrek Canopy Adventures and its plan to develop canopy tours and eco-adventure parks at resorts, parks, and tourist destinations across North America, visit http://www.arbortrek.com or call 802-644-9300.
About ArborTrek Canopy Adventures
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures was founded in 2009 with the goal of becoming the premier provider of zip line canopy tours and eco-adventure parks in North America. The canopy tour at Smugglers’ Notch is ArborTrek’s first zip line canopy tour operation. New parks are slated for development this fall. ArborTrek offers a unique partnering opportunity for resorts, parks, tour operators and property owners to enter the rapidly emerging and exciting market of eco-adventure tours, fully capitalized and professionally managed. More information about ArborTrek Canopy Adventures’ operation at Smugglers’ Notch Resort and ArborTrek’s partnership opportunities is available at http://www.arbortrek.com.
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures to be named "Best of New England 2012" by Yankee Magazine
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures at Smugglers' Notch, VT has been named a "Best of New England -- Editor's Choice" winner in the May/June 2012 Travel Guide to New England. The guide appears on news stands April 24, 2012.
Join us in the trees on Vermont's First "World Class" Zip Line Canopy Tour and learn why.
Click here to see who else made the list.
ArborTrek President to Present at Industry-Wide Conference
The zip line/canopy tour industry is changing rapidly. New standards are being proposed, regulation is being crafted and implemented by states and provinces, new game-changing technologies are being announced, and new tours are being opened nearly weekly. ArborTrek Canopy Adventures' president Michael Smith, will be presenting on some of these changes at the 2011 Association for Challenge Course Technology Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 3, 2011. The seminar, entitled "Zip Line & Canopy Tour Design, Installation, and Program Development" will be included as a pre-conference, full-day workshop. Additional details regarding cost and registration are available at www.acctinfo.org.
ArborTrek President Featured in USA Today
ArborTrek President, Michael Smith, has long been an advocate for adventure and risk management. Last year, it led him to invest heavily in the development of an industry-wide resource, Zipline Nirvana, where zip line enthusiasts, operators, builders, and vendors can connect to discuss zip lines and canopy tours. The site also offers users the opportunity to research and rate tours, post videos and photos, share stories, and connect with others.
"There are a lot of builders out there that never take the time to ride anyone else's tour but their own. I'm the exact opposite. I love to ride and I love to learn," says Smith. "There are a lot of great tours out there, but there are also a lot of high-risk, low-reward tours. My goal in creating Zipline Nirvana was to share my knowledge of the industry and to provide a resouce where the top tours would rise and the worst tours would sink. I've ridden nearly 30% of the tours we have listed on the site, although it is hard to keep up." Smith continues, "I encourage riders to educate themselves on the tours they are seeking to ride and to ask a lot of questions. There are a number of tours out there that aren't insured and numerous tours that don't meet standards. We founded ArborTrek with the goal of creating a national brand and a product that would set the bar."
Smith acknowledges that his directory is not comprehensive. Tours are being built faster than he can find them and add them. Further, collecting data on tours outside the United States and Canada has proven extremely difficult.
"I was thrilled when Larry Bleiberg, a free lance author writing for the USA Today approached me for a list of my Top 10 tours. Frankly, I had a lot more. I let him cut down the list," says Smith. "After years of assisting others to develop their tours, I am very excited at the opportunity to lead the development of tours for ArborTrek. We have assembled an incredible staff and I am certain when we open we will be at the top of next years list."
To view the Smith's top 10 picks and to get a preview of what to expect when ArborTrek Canopy Adventures at Smugglers' Notch opens this winter, go to Top 10 Ziplines Across the USA.