Cultus Lake Adventure Park
Cultus Lake Adventure Park is one of the best small, regional theme parks in the world!
It all begins with an idea - a dream.
The first inklings for Cultus Lake Adventure Park began more than three decades ago. Many potential locations were considered but for various reasons it didn’t proceed. The time had to be right.
Various ideas were explored as well. Along the way there were many versions, different themes were considered, sketches were drawn and models built. One idea kept surfacing, a theme park built around a historical logging camp. There would be a mountain in the center of the park and of course the park would feature a logging train.
While we bided our time we kept dreaming, drawing and scheming. We gathered historical photos, learned about the business and honed the necessary skills. The perfect opportunity was just around the corner.
It started with a story.
The perfect opportunity arrived with the dawn of the new millenium and we were ready. The ideal property was available in the tiny resort town of Cultus Lake, British Columbia, Canada. More than a million visitors flock to this lake each summer. The half acre site was in the center of a regional park and surrounded by tall trees and beautiful mountains.
After researching the local history we wrote the legend around which the project would be developed. The story was about a magical place called Giggle Ridge.
A long, long time ago in the wilds of British Columbia there was a little logging operation. Well equipped for it’s time, Giggle Ridge Logging Company could haul plenty of timber from the woods each working day. Flapjack the bear, was the camp mascot. He got his name from his favourite food, pancakes, always covered with a generous layer of maple syrup of course.
All was well in the woods until the fateful day a flash flood washed out the trestle in two places, trapping the locomotive in the process. No one was harmed, but while waiting for word from head office about repairs, the lumber market collapsed. Everything was left in the woods exactly where it was. And so it remained for many, many years.
As the new millennium dawned, the old logging operation was again discovered. By this time the area had become part of Cultus Lake Park. Rather than haul away the ancient logging relics it was decided to make them part of the new Adventure Golf. Flapjack the bear and his many critter friends were delighted to wake up from their winter nap to the sound of people enjoying themselves in the woods once again.
The story of Giggle Ridge and the logging camp that once was reportedly there is told in an entertaining and almost believable fashion. While we celebrate the local history we also believe it should be a great deal of fun!
It started with a plan of course!
Although the park had been in our minds and dreams for fifteen years there wasn’t much time to draw the actual plans we would use for construction. In a few weeks the final drawings were put together in preparation for the build. Amazingly, with the help of an incredibly hardworking and talented team, the park was readied for the grand opening in only one hundred days.
The dream is real at last!
Starting with flat land, valleys were dug and mountains built. The area’s rich logging history is celebrated with the visual representation of Giggle Ridge. A replica of a 1930’s logging camp was painstakingly reconstructed and features a Climax logging locomotive, a timber trestle, a steam donkey, a logging truck and a host of smaller features - all in a fun cartoon style. Golfers can hear the many friendly critters giggling in diverse locations throughout the park. Tens of thousands of flowers overflow the planters at every level.
The park was successfully owned and operated by the builders to enthusiastic reviews for thirteen seasons.
A new chapter in the story.
In 2012 we handed the keys over to the new owners confident that Giggle Ridge was in good hands. We also knew our involvement in the little park wouldn’t end there. The adventure was in fact just beginning and the little park was about to triple in size!
Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf would remain but it would become part of Cultus Lake Adventure Park.
The challenge was to squeeze an entire theme park onto a site that was just under an acre and a half in size. We had just the plan.
After drawing up a preliminary plan we laid it out on the ground with spray paint. Then we went up in a lift to see how it would look from the tallest attraction, the Ferris wheel. The container below gave us an indication of the proposed ground height through the center of the park.
Charting a new course.
Planning generally happened in one of three ways. We drew up many concept drawings which then proceeded to the architects and enginers. They would take a turn before we would review with extensive notes and drawings to make sure the real thing would live up to the original vision.
Once construction began, after the crews went home each day the owner and I would plan the next day’s activities, not by reviewing the drawings, but rather working to a visual standard. We simply sprayed marks and notes on the ground for the crew to follow the next day. The engineers caught up later.
Changing the landscape.
The original Giggle Ridge landscape was extended through half of the new park. It features orange dirtbanks and colorful rocks. On the western section of the park this transitions to a desert landscape with more angular rockwork. The deeply grained woodwork throughout ties everything together.
Extensive plantings and the original forest also worked to further unite the happy landscape. Warm and cool colors were mixed to provide a pleasing balance. Water also is a unifying element.