Zip line tours have become a popular tourist attraction in the U.S., Central and South America, and even in Asia. The thrilling experience of hanging by a harness from a pulley that slides down an inclined cable over a rainforest or other landscape has thrived as an excursion offered in tour or cruise vacations, as well as in resort areas. While the adventure experience, said to have been originated by U.S. scientists in Costa Rica in the 1960s to study the rainforest canopy from above the tree line, is considered relatively safe, there have been accidents, some very serious. It is also an activity not required by law in some destinations to have equipment inspected by government authorities to be operated legally.
Fortunately, travelers concerned about their safety can rely on the guidance of a 1,700 member association, based in Deerfield, IL, called the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). Comprised of operators of zip line and other "wilderness type experiences built on utility poles or trees," the ACCT sets professional guidelines for safety inspections of these attractions. Other challenge activities, such as rock-climbing walls and obstacle courses designed for students, campers or corporate groups are also covered by ACCT. Travelers who are considering taking a zip line tour, especially in an unfamiliar foreign destination where safety standards are unclear, may want to contact ACCT for its safety recommendations regarding a desired site or activity. You can learn about ACCT by visiting its web site.