Recently, on a few public forums and listservs, The Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) has made some statements regarding the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval of their standards. While it is true that the PRCA standards were recently approved by ANSI, it is not true that it will make the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) standards obsolete or change anything about the challenge course market as we currently know it.
The fact that PRCA has had their standards approved by ANSI first has no bearing on what you need to do with your course. The ACCT standards will soon follow; the ANSI approval process of the 9th edition of internationally recognized ACCT standards nears completion. If you have a relationship with any ACCT vendor for the maintenance, inspection and training of your course, rest assured they will continue to adhere to the most widely used and internationally accepted standard for the challenge course industry.
It is important to know that ANSI does not restrict any industry to a single standard; it believes that the marketplace will decide which standards are most influential. It is always expected that standards will compete, allowing the marketplace to determine which standards best meet its needs. We need only to look at the current market acceptance of these two organizations' standards as any indication of which standard will prevail. ACCT has shared with its membership a Q&A with their ANSI consultant, Attorney Dan Bart, detailing how the ANSI process works, which emphasizes this concept. (Attached ACCT-ANSI FAQ.pdf )
It should also be noted that in the handful of states that have embarked on regulating the challenge course industry, including California, Colorado, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Virginia, most have named ACCT standards by name in statute or regulation, and therefore courses must comply with those ACCT standards.
We believe that the PRCA's communication is very misleading and alarmist. Please trust that we have your best interests in mind. We choose to stand behind the ACCT standards not only because they continue to be the most widely recognized standard for the challenge course industry, but that they are the better standard for the industry. Time will prove this to be true.
High 5 Adventure Learning Center