Michael R. Smith, Adventure Park & Zip Line Expert
BA: Wilderness Leadership, Prescott College | MTD: Training & Development, Oakland University | NAARSO Level 2 (Advanced) Inspector | ACCT Level 2 Inspector | ACCT Operation Reviewer | Ontario TSSA-ADM Zip Line Inspector | Colorado Amusement Device Type 2 Inspector: Aerial Adventure Parks & Zip Lines
Michael R. Smith - President & Founder
- Michael R. Smith is an industry leader, aerial adventure park and zip line expert, and proven business and marketing consultant with more than 23 years of experience designing and developing award-winning aerial adventure parks and 28 years of experience delivering adventure-based tours and team and leadership development programming. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Wilderness Leadership from Prescott College (1998) and a Master of Training and Development from Oakland University (2004). He has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies as a business consultant, authored and published climbing and field guides, worked as a field instructor for the Outward Bound School, and is regularly retained as an adventure park and zip line expert in litigation cases.
Smith founded AdventureSmith, Inc. in 2000 as a platform to author and publish climbing guides and to provide marketing solutions to adventure tour operators. By 2005, Smith recognized the potential growth of the zip line canopy tour and aerial adventure park market and focused his efforts on tracking growth and trends, and working with new operators. His experience helping clients launch new zip line canopy tour tours led him to found ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, an AdventureSmith, Inc. managed company.
- Since 2009, Smith has served as the President of ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, LLC, an aerial adventure park operator headquartered in Jeffersonville, Vermont. ArborTrek tours have been recognized with the following accolades:
- 2020 10Best Award for “Best Aerial Adventure Park”, USA Today
- 2019 10Best Award for “Best Aerial Adventure Park”, USA Today
- 2014, 2016, 2017 listed as One of the “10 Best Zipline Courses in the USA“, USA Today
- One of the “World’s Coolest Zip Lines“, Travel + Leisure
- 2018 Editor’s Pick for Best Family Adventures, Yankee Magazine
- 2012 Editor’s Choice for Best of New England, Yankee Magazine
- “One of the Coolest Places to Go Zip Lining in the World”, FoxNews.com
- “One of the Best Wilderness Zip Line Tours in the U.S.“, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Advisor Blog
- “10 Thrilling Zip Lines Around the World”, The Weather Channel
- Five-star user rating for seven consecutive years, TripAdvisor
- 2016 Excellence in Tourism Promotion, Upper Cumberland Business Journal
- Smith oversees all business functions at ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, which include but are not limited to the design, development, and operation of zip line canopy tours, aerial adventure parks, climbing adventures, and traditional challenge course programs (high and low ropes challenge courses, group initiatives and adventure-based team building / experience-based training and development).
- Prior to founding ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, LLC, Smith was employed by S.T.E.P.S., Inc. (1994 – 2009) in various positions ranging from challenge course facilitator to organizational development consultant to Director of Special Projects. Founded by a group of professionals in education, treatment, and organizational development who shared a common interest in the benefits of adventure education, S.T.E.P.S., Inc. grew to be the largest provider of adventure education services in Southeastern Michigan. In 2005, S.T.E.P.S., Inc. became an early leader in the emerging zip line canopy tour market in the U.S. and Canada. During his 15 years at S.T.E.P.S., Smith trained hundreds of facilitators and guides, designed and developed more than 14 commercial adventure parks and dozens of traditional courses in the U.S. and Canada, consulted on numerous commercial and traditional projects, and oversaw the delivery of programming to more than 200,000 participants. Projects that he helped to bring to market have served more than 2 million participants.
- Other relevant experience includes four extended summers as a mountaineering and field instructor for the Outward Bound School, swift-water and high-angle rescue training, technical rock guiding, mountaineering, and experience designing, leading, and evaluating organizational development interventions and change processes. Smith currently serves as Board Secretary for the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and has filled the following other roles: ACCT Board of Directors Member (2014-2017), ACCT Accreditation and Certification Committee (2019-2023), and Marketing Committee Chair (2012-2013). Smith is a participating member on ASTM International F24.61 sub-committee which oversees the development and maintenance of ASTM F2959 Standard Practice for Special Requirements for Aerial Adventure Courses. Additional areas of expertise include expert witness consulting, technical inspections of challenge courses, commercial and traditional course program audits, and production of custom operation manuals and documents. He is adept at publication design and layout, graphic design, illustration, and multiple website authoring tools.