Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures Moving Foward

Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures Moving Foward SouthWest Saskatchewan Tourism  Saskatchewan Cypress Hills Eco Adventure Cypress Hills & Area Attractions

Written by Charlene Blackwell on Thursday, 24 April 2014

Awarded the 2013 Canadian Federation of Independent Business Small Business Champion, 2013 “Best Guided Tour in Saskatchewan” from the Readers of Prairies North Magazine, 2013 Tourism Saskatchewan Awards of Excellence – Business of the Year Award for under 50 employees, 2013 Tourism Saskatchewan Awards of Excellence – Online Marketing Award, and 2013 Tourism Saskatchewan Awards of Excellence – Service Excellence Finalist, the Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures, President/CEO and founder Jori Kirk says they’re almost ready for the 2014 season.

“We open officially on May 12th this year, so we just wanted to make sure all the snow and everything is gone from the park and the course also needs to be inspected at the start of every year. I think we have ten people returning from our last year’s staff, but we have eight more guides that are going to be arriving on May 12th. From the May long weekend and after that, we have school groups all the way until July long weekend. It’s going to be pretty busy. It looks like it’s a little bit busier than last year in terms of school groups and a lot of them have returned from previous years with us. Some schools have been coming out to do stuff on our activities for the last three years in a row, so it’s pretty cool.”

Mostly geared toward team-building activities for grades ten to twelve, Eco-Adventures has school groups come from all over the place, Jori says, “From Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and all the way from Unity, Central Butte, Radville, Saskatoon, Regina, all over the province.”

Guides take you through the treetops and give you a whole different perspective of what Cypress Hills is.

“For anyone who has been coming out to Cypress Hills for years,” he says, “it’s a really cool way to see the park and see the trees and for those that have never been to Cypress Hills, it’s just a really fun activity for a group to be able to do and you can also get a really good story out of it. It’s a two hour tour, a duration that actually allows you to get up there and experience something for a while. This is our third year of operation. We’ve added so many things to our location since the first year, so for any of those people who have been out the very first year, if they came back now, it just would look like a total different site. We’ve always been adding things and improving and I think that it provides people with a variety of stuff to do at our location for a whole day if they wanted to.”

They’ve built out a bigger base camp for sitting and relaxing, what some of the young parents do with their little ones.

Jori adds, “We’ll also have free wi-fi at our site this year, too, something in the park that a lot of people wanted when camping and there’s nowhere else to get that other than at the park office, so it’ll give people a reason to come and hang out at our location and spend some time with us.”

Looking back at this year, Jori says, “We won the 2013 Business of the Year Award for under 50 employees, something that I was really proud of. Three years into operation, it seems like the awards and all the things we’ve been racking up, the Rookie of the Year in our first year and some of the other things that have come through, it seemed like the time was now to go and expand. I never wanted to just have the site at Cypress Hills. It was always in my mind to make this bigger and share it with other parts of the province, what I’m doing now. I just didn’t think that it was going to be a possibility so quickly.”

Eco-Adventures will be building another tour in northern Saskatchewan at Elk Ridge Hotel and Resort, about five minutes outside the Prince Albert National Site gate near the townsite of Waskesiu.

“I had my builder up here a couple weeks ago,” says Jori, “and we’ve actually designed the whole course. It’s going to be pretty impressive and fun to operate and be on. It’ll start construction in July and it’ll be finished about mid-September. It’ll be ready to go for May of 2015.”

Born and raised in Climax, Jori’s mom still lives there and he says, “When I go home, it’s really nice to spend some time with my mom and see the familiar faces around town. The support that we’ve got from the local region has been heartwarming. It makes you feel like you’re doing something good and something that people are proud of, not just yourself.”

“One other thing that we do every year is we volunteer our staff for Easter Seals Drop Zone. They raise money for Easter Seals Camp in Saskatchewan. It’s in Saskatoon and Regina and we rappel people off of a twenty-two storey building for a whole day. That’ll be at the end of August. We’ve done it for three years now. We’re called their technical crew, so we volunteer our time and we look after the whole technical aspect of the event for them along with remote access technologies. Last year, they raised $330,000 for Easter Seals Camp in two days. In the Cypress Hills, there’s a high-altitude challenge run in August that we’re part sponsors of and there’s lots of cool things that go on around this area in the summer.”

For more information or to book a tour, visit the Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures website or call 1-306-662-4466.

via Local News

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