EBL was founded in 1996 by owner Steve Gustafson. He obtained his degrees in Recreation, Parks and Tourism and Geology from Western Illinois University. As part of his graduate level course work, he participated in a Wilderness Education Association National Standard Program wilderness expedition. Having spent 33 days in the rugged back country of the Wind River Range of Wyoming, 10 days in Sinks Canyon, 10 days in Boulder UT, and 8 days white water kayaking on the Salomon River in Idaho, he successfully completed his course work and became a Certified Outdoor Leader. After dual internships; 3 months with the Rockford, IL Park District and 9 months with George Williams College in Williams Bay WI, he graduated in 1988.
Fueling his passion for adventure education, Steve went on to work for the State of Oklahoma for a youth at risk program, allowing troubled young adults the opportunity to experience ropes challenge courses, white water canoeing, low ropes "teaming" exercises, back country hiking in the Ozark mountains, and wilderness camping.
Moving on to work for a short spell in New Jersey for then, one of the largest ropes challenge course vendors, Cradlerock Outdoor Network, his passion for ropes courses and zip lines began to be more dominate. This allowed him to move in to a Challenge Course Director position for a large YMCA outside of Lafayette, IN called Camp Tecumseh, YMCA.
After leaving the YMCA, he moved back to his hometown of Rockford, IL to begin EBL in 1996. Since then, he has traveled the world delivering one of a kind, corporate team building seminars and has credit for interactions with over 75,000 corporate professionals. He is also well traveled for the installation of ropes challenge courses and has delivered services internationally.
In 2002, EBL was approached by a father and son team from Maui Hawaii. Their quest was to develop and install the first Zip Line tour in the U.S. From our research, the first tour was actually installed in Lake Toxaway, NC in June 1999. EBL did co-design, install, and train this first Hawaii program for their first three years of operation. EBL has now installed 5 tours in Hawaii and assisted in started those businesses from the ground up. Since that time, EBL tours across the nation have received prestigious awards.
Since 2002, EBL went on to install tours in Kauai Hawaii, the first tour in Alaska in Ketchikan, and the first tour in Juneau Alaska. In 2005, EBL installed its first "owned" tour, leased the tour to the local company to operate, and provided ongoing repairs, training, and business assistance for the next three years. In 2006 and 2007, EBL installed our largest project to date for the newest U.S. ski resort, Tamarack Ski Resort in Donnelley, Idaho. This tour challenged EBL to create a tour not found anywhere else in the world. With a mix of ground to ground zip lines, tree to tree zip lines, zip line off granite cliffs (Idaho Batholith to be precise) and zips into the high arboreal canopy of Ponderosa Pines of 115 feet off the ground! This is truly a magnificent course to be enjoyed by all who attend. EBL now operates and manages this location. We have has also consulted with other start up tours for feasibility studies, designs, and layouts.
Today, EBL can boost more experience, more tours installed, and more tours owned, than any other company we are aware. We also own the course at Zip Idaho in Horseshoe Bend Idaho and Scream Time Ziplines by EBL, located in Boone NC, which (in 2007) had the longest zip lines East of the Mississippi and the first triple wide, side-by-side 2000 foot zip lines in the U.S. This course is sure to get your attention! The longest lines now we are aware in the lower 48 states is that of another EBL licensed location, Berkshire East Canopy Tours in Charlemont, MA. Their lines are up to 2,600 feet long! Just over a half mile!
EBL is an Accredited Vendor with the Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) and is listed as a Qualified Zip Line / Canopy Tour Professional. We are proud to be the first and only company presently in the United States to have achieved this status.