LINCOLN — Two recreational destinations in the North Country are merging.
Whale's Tale Waterpark and Alpine Adventures announced Thursday that the companies are joining forces. Both have grown considerably since their early days in the Lincoln-Woodstock area.
"We've got two engines now kind of pushing the growth," said Jeff Woodward, managing parter of NLI Inc., which has run Whale's Tale since it opened in 1984. "There is so much we can do with the combined energies that we're really excited about what we can offer guests.
"NLI will assume operations of both companies, which are just about 3 miles apart in Lincoln, and Alpine Adventures founder Randy Farwell will join the board.
"It creates a really strong organization with a lot of synergies working together and creates really strong product we can offer between two," Farwell said.
Farwell and his wife, Kerry, started Alpine Adventures in 1996, offering snowmobile tours in the White Mountain National Forest. The company expanded over time and now features a series of zipline courses that are among the longest and most popular in New England. Alpine Adventures also conducts off-road tours via a six-wheel drive Pinzgauers, a super-sized all-terrain transport named for the sturdy breed of Austrian work horses.
The Pinzgauers can go year-round, expanding the seasonal operations that have limited Whale's Tale. Woodward said the off-road tours will likely cruise past the water park for some instant marketing.
"We want to see people go 'Wow! That looks cool! Where can I do that?" Woodward said.
Alpine Adventures also features "Thrillsville," an aerial park that isn't limited by the season.
The staffs will merge into a workforce of about 175, which can rotate to where the need is greatest between the water park and zipline stations. Farwell's zipline venture has had enough success to expand with locations at Hunter Mountain, N.Y., as well as one in Jamaica.
Lincoln is also home to Loon Mountain ski area, which both Woodward and Farwell see as an asset. They expect days when skiers' legs will need a break from the slopes and come looking for another activity.
"We don't want to compete with Loon, we want to complement Loon," Farwell said. "We're all one more reason why people come to the White Mountains."