The first zip line Terry Deck ever built was created solely for his family, the contractor and father of three looking to spend one-on-one time with his children doing something they would all enjoy. With two daughters it wasn’t always easy to pick an activity they all thought was fun, and with a wide range in ages, finding entertainment for the whole family sometimes proved difficult.
So he constructed his own zip line, something used by family and friends during special occasions and family gatherings.
“Everybody who would come on it always said ‘you have to open this to the public,’” Cheryl Deck, Terry’s wife and business partner, explained.
With the encouragement, the Outer Edge Adventure Park was born. The area’s first and only zip line park opened to the public May 20.
Perched on the edge of the Qu’Appelle Valley just off Highway 20 between Lumsden and Craven, the park offers something for all ages — lil’ zipper lines for children, the Big Zip for the more daring adventurer, and valley views that would appease anyone.
“It’s kind of like the Field of Dream’s — build it and they will come. At least that’s our hope,” said Cheryl, sitting outside the bright orange sea can dubbed the “See Can,” which acts as the hub of operations for the adventure park. Inside the bright coloured building is the registration centre, gift shop and concession. With a deck built on top, it also offers visitors unobstructed access to the valley views.
Cheryl explained Outer Edge Adventure Park, a family venture, got its name not only because of its location on the edge of valley, but also because the park takes people to the outer edge of their comfort zone.
The park offers a seven line zip line known as the Big Zip. After registration, gear up and safety orientation, adventurers taking on the Big Zip head out on an approximately two hour guided tour, making their way across seven different lines that range in length from 95 feet long to 550 feet in length, with the fastest line being the finale, adventurers reaching upwards of 30 km/hr before braking. The stopping system is a pulley style, something that was important for Cheryl after zip lining in the Dominican Republic.
“You basically go from line to line as a group,” Cheryl explained. Group sizes range, though she recognized the two hour tour is based on eight adventurers.
Along the trail of the Big Zip, participants have the chance to gain some valley knowledge, information stations placed throughout the park describing the native plants and sharing interesting facts about the local wildlife. Those adventurers wishing to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground can take part in a nature walk.
For younger children, the park offers three swing style Lil’ Zipper lines.
“We call them the zippers in training,” said Cheryl.
She explained the swing style lines are suitable for children who can support themselves on a swing. Parents or guardians help the youth along.
The park is built on 10 acres of land, Terry born and raised on the acreage. When creating the adventure park, Cheryl noted she and Terry wanted to leave as little footprint on the land as possible.
“Our park was built so we didn’t disturb (the environment),” said Cheryl. The See Can is a refurbished sea can and the park operates on wind and solar energy.
But overall, Cheryl recognized the park’s emphasis is on fun — the names of the different zip lines emphasize the focus: “Gopher it,” “Squirrels Hangout,” and the “X-tree-M Beam.”
Terry began constructing the park in July 2016, and Cheryl said all the Big Zip lines were up and tested by November.
Originally the park was planning to open July 1 but the Decks were able to move up the schedule, Outer Edge opening to the public May 20, with the soft opening of the Big Zipper May 21.
“Because we had such a short winter… it really helped to speed up that date,” Cheryl said.
In addition to being a day out for the adventuring family, the park is open to hosting parties, family reunions and corporate retreats. For those wishing to make more than a day out of it, there is also a bed and breakfast on site, cabins and a converted barn welcoming travellers.
“When we bring people out to the park, we want to keep them in the area,” said Cheryl, recognizing both her and her husband’s love for the Lumsden area. She said they want to share that love with the adventurers, bringing people out to experience the park as well as the other treasures the area has to offer.
Though only recently opened, the park owners are already thinking of ways to expand into other types of adventures. Terry noted they are excited to hear feedback about the adventures others would like to see.