For Immediate release
Aug. 7, 2013, Victoria, BC – Tom Benson, chief experience officer and co-founder of WildPlay Element Parks (WildPlay), has been appointed to a BC Safety Authority (BCSA) Amusement Devices Technology Advisory Committee charged with providing industry advice in developing regulations and standards for operators of outdoor aerial adventure parks and ziplines.
BCSA is an independent, self-funded organization, with a mandate to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems. Joining Benson on the committee are representatives from Adrena-line, ZipTrek Ecotours, and Challenges Unlimited.
“The committee is a great opportunity for open dialogue that builds integrity and strong working relationships within the industry,” says Benson. “Members have been invited to participate because of experience in related businesses, and the fact that we are committed to building the safest outdoor adventure park system in the world.”
Benson brings more than 25 years of professional experience in outdoor adventure to BCSA. WildPlay, with four Parks and multiple aerial recreation Elements, is the biggest player on the committee and Benson is interested in contributing his diverse knowledge to the mission.
Since launching seven years ago, WildPlay remains an accident-free leader in providing challenging and fun experiences in risk-managed environments. Their philosophy of “evolving the guest” is a unique connection that each visitor makes between their inner “primal” potential and that of the natural, untamed world. The company has worked closely with BCSA to meet and exceed the committee’s standards, and WildPlay maintains high operational standards of its own, unique to each element experience.
WildPlay belongs to a rapidly growing zip line and aerial adventure sector of the outdoor recreation movement, where consumer demand is making the need for rigorous industry-wide standards increasingly important. In response, the committee will be examining best practices in other jurisdictions and helping guide the BCSA board in developing standards for adventure products.
Benson and his partner Gord Ross, both veteran mountaineers and climbing guides, hatched their business idea after experiencing tree-to-tree style adventure experiences in Europe and South America. In March 2006, they opened their first WildPlay Element Parks location in Nanaimo, with the goal of allowing participants of all ages to challenge their own physical and mental limitations in a natural setting. The inaugural Park features the iconic Bungy Jump and Primal Swing Elements, as well as the original Monkido® Aerial Adventure courses and DragonFLY Zip Lines.
The WildPlay Element Parks brand of fun and learning proved to be a big hit, and today the company has grown to meet the demand for unique adrenaline-based experiences. Additional Parks opened in West Shore Victoria in 2009, Maple Ridge in 2010, and Kelowna in 2012, all featuring the exclusive Monkido® Classic, Buddy and Kids courses, where “monkey-see, monkey-do” obstacles are suspended in the trees for adults, teens, and kids to navigate zip lines, tree ladders, rope swings, scrambling walls, hanging nets, spinning logs, wobbly bridges, tightropes, monkey bars, and other surprising games.
As stewards for nature-based experience, WildPlay pays close attention to the ecological impact of park build, design, and Element use. Land use incorporates and maintains existing vegetation and terrain features, and restoration of natural plants is adopted where possible, and allowances are made for the habitats and migration of small animals. In some cases, WildPlay Element Parks helps clean-up or restore degraded and abandoned urban spaces, as was the case at Maple Ridge and West Shore Victoria sites.
For individuals, WildPlay Element Parks ensures that the adrenaline discovered during an outdoor experience helps create a sense of place in the natural world. The company encourages adults, teens, and kids to appreciate and be advocates for the environment of the future.
As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing energy, Park hours of operation are set to maximize daylight; requiring power in administrative areas to support computers, phones, internet access, and heat during chilly Canadian winters, and on the Primal Swing Elements only when in operation.