Zipline park, winter fort attraction added to St. Lawrence Parks Commission portfolio

St. Lawrence Parks Commission CEO Darren Dalgleish speaks to attendees at the commission's Partners Day at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ont. Dalgleish announced two new attractions for this year -- one in Brown's Bay and the other in Kingston. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

MORRISBURG – The St. Lawrence Parks Commission has announced two new attractions this year for the Thousand Islands Parkway and Kingston.

During its so-called Partners Day at Upper Canada Village Wednesday afternoon, CEO Darren Dalgleish announced the Skywood Eco Adventure Park will open in the summer at the old Brown’s Bay campground on the Thousand Islands Parkway, east of Gananoque.

It’s a tree top canopy zipline experience that Dalgleish said will be the first accessible facility of its type in Ontario.

The other attraction is Fort Frost, which will be coming next winter to Kingston. With attractions around Fort Henry called The Sleeping Wood, The Ice Tunnel, and The Frezzinator, Dalgleish described it as “Frozen meets It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Closer to home, there are a number of improvements this year, including 45 serviced sites being added to Farran Park in Ingleside.

Dalgleish also talked about the commission’s success of partnering with outside groups. Mountain Equipment Co-op is partnering to bring a triathlon this year to the Long Sault Parkway.

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission estimates its attractions already pump $150 million into the regional economy every year.

Even with the improvements and a 15-20 per cent increase in traffic, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission still struggles financially.

It was still just over $3.2 million in debt in the last fiscal year. Four years ago it was $7.5 million – a 56 per cent improvement. “Every dollar is what creates Fort Frost and Skywood and will create phase two of Skywood,” Dalgleish said.

The CEO said it ultimately means less burden on the taxpayer.

“I’d think you all agree, if we continued showing people how to make rooms in the (Upper Canada) Village, our numbers wouldn’t be going up. We see this as a means to an end. We see this as an opportunity to enable stewardship of the fort and the village,” Dalgleish said.

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