Founded in 2003, the Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) became the first industry association to achieve the ANSI Accredited Standards Developer status in 2005. On March 3, 2014, ANSI designated the ANSI/PRCA 1.0-.3 2014 as the sole ANSI American National SAFETY Standard (ANS) for Challenge Courses, Ziplines, and Aerial Adventure Parks. This standard covers both participants and employees. Accordingly, the ANSI Essential Requirements outline that no other conflicting or duplicating ANS should be allowed.
The mission of the PRCA is to develop end-user applicable standards, documents, and to define, document and outline the construction / operational practices for the Ropes Challenge Course, Zipline, and Aerial Adventure Parks industry. The documents of the PRCA may be used for education regarding course evaluations, insurance criteria, in-house training, inspections, installations, operations, and professional development to name a few.
Further, for the purpose of inclusiveness, in the designated American National Safety Standard ANSI 1.0-.3-2014, other industry standards have been reviewed and applicable portions have been adopted specifically for the use of the ropes challenge course industry; e.g. CEN standards, AS/NZ Standards, previous PRCA and ACCT standards, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Cordage Institute (CI). These standards are for educational use, construction resource for properly trained professionals, and to provide a venue for collaboration among challenge course practitioners.
The PRCA is an industry association where the membership has direct voting rights on association matters without the dominance of vendor control or exclusion. It is a non-profit association comprised of a board of directors, peer reviewed vendors, organizational members, and individual members. Within the ropes challenge course industry, there has been a perceived need for an association and standards document that was reflective of a democratic process. To address this need and to strengthen the effectiveness of the PRCA standards, a solid representation within the ropes course industry was sought. By collaborating with other industry organizations and with the input of other industry leaders, a more inclusive situation has been achieved.