Much has changed since Gary Norton would climb into the cockpit of a World War II era P 51 Mustang and perform loops and barrel rolls for spectators at his young theme park north of Coeur d’Alene.
The air shows of those early years are no more, and Norton is content to chase details on the ground.
canada goose outlet edmonton In recent years, Silverwood Theme Park has added gravity taunting roller coasters, a sprawling water park and acres of other attractions that draw visitors from hundreds of miles away. canada goose outlet edmonton
canada goose outlet in montreal The Northwest’s largest theme park opened this month for its 25th season, and it will see its 10millionth guest visit sometime this summer. Its founder and owner is passing the torch to his children while continuing to dream up expansion plans and new ways to pull in visitors. canada goose outlet in montreal
canada goose outlet parka Many of America’s family owned theme parks have sold to amusement chains or gone belly up, Norton said. canada goose outlet parka
« I’m the only one who’s the original founder of any park running, » he said.
canada goose outlet in canada His son Paul has taken over as Silverwood’s general manager, and Norton’s four other children and three of his 10 grandchildren work there as well. canada goose outlet in canada
canada goose outlet in toronto But Norton remains engaged in shaping the vision of one of the top tourist draws around. « The creative side of it, I’m still pushing those buttons, » he said. canada goose outlet in toronto
That Silverwood survived at all is a wonder. A 15 minute drive from Coeur d’Alene, it’s far from the major population centers that feed most amusement parks. And the Inland Northwest climate constricts the season, especially for the water slides and raft rides.
« The original plan was doomed to fail, really: building a theme park in North Idaho, » Norton said.
With money from the sale of his Spokane based computer business, ISC, he started Silverwood on the site of an airfield, the Henley Aerodrome, south of Athol, Idaho.
The canada goose outlet toronto factory park opened on June 20, 1988 http://www.canadagoosejacketoutlett.com, as little more than a roadside attraction, canada goose outlet shop with pony rides, puppet shows, Norton’s collection of vintage planes and his prized 1915 steam train, won in a bidding war with the Walt Disney Co.
canada goose sale uk As he explored canada goose outlet sale new ways to lure crowds, Norton battled state and local officials over canada goose outlet reviews the property taxes on canada goose outlet store uk his park, arguing for lower assessments based on market value. He eventually prevailed, and earlier this week he was honored with the inaugural Kyle M. Walker Champions of Tourism Award by the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce and Coeur d’Alene Convention Visitor Bureau. canada goose sale uk
canada goose vest outlet Community and business leaders applauded Norton for Silverwood’s quarter century of economic impact: $86million in local payroll taxes, $18million in state sales tax, $3.6million in property taxes and a regional economic splash exceeding $1billion, as estimated by the Idaho Department of Commerce. canada goose vest outlet
Norton prefers to keep out of the spotlight.
canada goose outlet in usa He’d rather blend into the background and watch his guests or work with a horticulturist to remake a garden bed or haggle with his chefs over a recipe. canada goose outlet in usa
canada goose outlet usa The big rides are less interesting to Norton than the ambience and fine points. canada goose outlet usa
canada goose outlet price « It’s the depth of the park that’s more important, » he said. « The quality of the flower beds, the brick walkways, the shows and entertainment that build a foundation for a more loyal customer base. » canada goose outlet price
At the park this canada goose outlet new york city week, Norton took time to reflect on his creation.
canada goose outlet store montreal Q. How do you feel about what you’ve built here? canada goose outlet store montreal
canada goose jacket outlet uk A. I look at it as a work in progress painting, something I personally like to do, not so much as a business project but a creative project. canada goose jacket outlet uk
Q. Do you have childhood memories of attending amusement parks?
canada goose premium outlet A. I remember growing up in south Florida and watching, like a lot of kids did, the Disney shows on TV, particularly « The Mickey Mouse Club, » and seeing shots of Disneyland, thinking, « Boy, that’s someplace I’d like to see someday. » canada goose premium outlet
Years later I went to canada goose outlet store work in Los Angeles, and I hated the traffic canada goose outlet in usa and crowds. I used to escape that by taking the afternoons off and going out to Disneyland. And I’d just buy a ticket canada goose outlet , go in there, get something to eat, sit down and look at it. I was totally impressed with how it transformed a person when you walked through those gates. And so I just tucked that away. That came goose outlet canada into play later when I started creating this place up here.
Q. What was it about this piece of land that attracted you to official canada goose outlet buy it?
canada goose outlet canada A. It had an aerodrome on it, and I was into airplanes at the time. But it’s also surrounded by the mountains and lakes. It was a pretty little location in the middle of nowhere, and I could enjoy having some fun with canada goose outlet uk sale airplanes. canada goose outlet canada
Q. How did it go in the early years?
canada goose outlet toronto factory A. The first two years was more than a million dollars a year in negative cash flow. It was this canada goose outlet online beautiful creation of very expensive detail buildings, but as a business it just wasn’t going to fly. I said this is just going canada goose outlet nyc to be a thing of beauty, I’m not going to put up carnival rides. Then I realized I’ve got to do what I have to do to make the business survive. So then I wanted to do it in the most natural way I can, which is to take a parklike setting, building undulating paths and hills, and planting landscaping, and I drew the whole park myself. I drew all the footprints for rides, ran the cranes, pulled wrenches, put up the coasters and ruined my back doing that. And I almost killed myself falling off canada goose outlet canada some rock piles into a trench one day when there was nobody around, on a Sunday. It was pretty stressful putting that canada goose jacket outlet park together canada goose outlet toronto factory.