A suspension bridge and adventure park is coming Golden’s way, with hopes of opening in spring of 2020.
Rav Soomal, who is the owner and developer of Rocky Pointe Condos on 5th Avenue S., is an owner and developer in the project that could bring “soft core” adventure to Golden.
The park is located on 100 acres of land, just outside of the Town of Golden municipal boundary on Golden Upper Donald.
Towering above Hospital Creek Falls, Soomal says the park will make the area accessible to people of all different ages and physical abilities. First, the developers, Solstice Land Company, will construct two suspension bridges spanning 110 and 200 metres long across the canyon. Alongside the sightseeing bridges, adventurers will have the opportunity to take the plunge into the canyon on a bungee jump and a bungee swing. Trails with interactive signage about the area will wind around and connect the bridges with platforms that will overlook the valley and provide a great view of the daring bungee jumpers, and the creek and falls below.
Golden is filled with opportunities for extreme sports enthusiasts, and Soomal, who has worked with Tourism Golden for eight years and has owned hotels with his family for more than 30 years, is looking to fill a void.
“It’s just something that everybody can do,” he said. “Mom, dad, grandma, they can walk across the suspension bridge, and their teenage son can jump off [the bungee] and we can all watch him.”
Within the next two to five years, Soomal expects between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors will go through the adventure park. With 13,000 vehicles driving through Golden daily, and thousands of overnight guests checking in every day, Soomal says these numbers are attainable. Banff National Park receives around 4.2 million visitors each year.
With 100 acres to build on, future plans include ziplines, a cliff walk, and rock climbing. The area allows for possible hotels, restaurants, and wedding venues.
“As we scale through the years, we will keep adding many activities,” he said.
The lookout platforms will be built large enough to host many visitors, and with enough space to become potential wedding ceremony locations.
“They’re really one of the key parts of the project. They’re going to be three big beautiful wooden platforms looking over the valley and over the falls,” Soomal said. “There’s views down the entire valley.”
The adventure park will be built high above the falls, and Soomal says he has no intentions of cutting off the hiking trail down below that leads people to the base of Hospital Creek falls.
“I think if anything, this project is going to open up access to the falls,” he said, adding that he has taken locals to the site who were suprised the hidden gem was there.
Soomal likens the project to the Capilano suspension bridge in North Vancouver, and says it will be a commercial operation much like Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the Banff Gondola, and Glacier Skywalk.
“It’s a big project, it’s not small,” he said. “It will be professionally built.”
The contractor the developers have hired to build the suspension bridges and the bungee areas will be professionals who have built many before. The kiosk and trail building will involve local labourers and builders.
Once the adventure park is open, Soomal expects that it will quickly become a staple in destinations around Golden, and that it will be easy for accommodators to suggest to visitors.
“More than anything, we want people to get excited,” Soomal said. “It’s a dream come true for the residents of Golden.”