Mason Smith | 12.04.2018

"It's like Airbnb, but for outdoor adventures," is how a friend described the AdventureAide application to me. AdventureAide is an emerging smartphone platform that allows its users to participate in outdoor adventures hosted by local guides (referred to as AdventureAides). These adventures can range anywhere from group hikes, outdoor yoga, and outdoor photography classes to rock climbing and multi-day backpacking trips. This is how it works: Users can sign up to be an Aide, and then they create an outline of their prospective adventures on the platform using a simple interface and set the price and duration of the event. Once the event is approved, other users book the event and enjoy. There's even an option to keep the adventure free if you're more interested in community involvement.

This platform provides users with outdoor opportunities and connects them with a local community of like-minded individuals in addition to introducing both locals and travelers to potentially new or obscure adventures. It's my hope that this app will encourage its users to become more involved in the outdoor community. At this time, AdventureAide has been launched extensively in the Los Angeles area with plans for full-scale releases in San Diego and San Francisco in the near future. Regardless of this, AdventureAides are popping up all over the country; I encourage you to check it out for yourself.



Make sure to educate yourself fully on these programs.

Many of them are operating in grey zones, or directly violating Park rules. They hire their local guides as "contractors" but fail to ensure these individuals have appropriate certification or the permits necessary. If you plan to work for these companies you must have your own business license, parks permits (National, State/Provincial). Most aren't even aware that their guides require this. If something goes wrong the guides will be held independently responsible and bear the brunt of the blame. It's exceptionally high risk.

Last year a family member asked me to look into a program similar to this that they were invested in as I have experience working for a certified and legitimate guiding company. creating permits with National and Provincial parks.
I found that the company:
a) Was not aware of a difference between wilderness first aid and other types of first aid trying, nor how that relates to Parks Policies or Insurance.
b) They were under insuring their guides (2m coverage) while having much better insurance for their business (5m I believe it was)
c) Had secured permits under false pretenses.
d) They did not screen their guides in any practical way. Applications were based on personability, not competency.

The worst element was when I asked How the business would ensure accidents don't happen. I was told that the rating system would discourage people from unsafe behaviour. As a long trip leader, and someone who has worked in the guiding industry this was terrifying. In my experience the most fun people are often more likely to get in accidents. It is also true that many guests behave differently when they have a guide to take the reigns and are significantly less competent. In short, leading groups even in low risk terrain things can go wildly wrong quickly.

As lawyer friend of mine said this model is a liability nightmare in the making. It's not a case of if, but when something goes wrong.

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