Aquatopia is a large indoor waterpark owned by Camelback Mountain Resort in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. The waterpark is one of several attractions visitors can enjoy at the resort, including skiing, tube sledding, an indoor ropes course, an arcade, dining, and hotel accommodations. Camelback itself gives next to no information about how its resort operates with respect to sustainability. Given that waterparks have generally unsustainable practices, especially in the US, Aquatopia receives a low rating by failing to show how it can break the trend.
Aquatopia provides no information about how any of the materials used in its resort are sourced. As a water park, Aquatopia certainly uses up a large volume of water, though not as much as many golf courses, for example. More efficient filters, chlorine generation systems, rainwater recovery, evaporation reduction, and renewable generation are some examples of technologies and practices that exist and are readily available that could make a water park more sustainable with respect to water management. However, Aquatopia does not disclose if it uses any of these practices, and the US in general has less regulations that could improve water park sustainability as opposed to Europe or parts of the Middle East. There is also no information given by Aquatopia about how it acquires other building materials and materials used in hotels and dining.
Aquatopia does not reveal how the energy required to run the water park is produced. Given that Pennsylvania as a state contains a high proportion of fossil fuels compared to other states, and that Aquatopia does not tout any renewable energy initiatives, it might be safe to assume that it runs mostly on fossil fuels. Additionally, the large resort takes up lots of physical space in northeast Pennsylvania and makes no mention of initiatives to aid conservation or biodiversity in the area. Waste disposal practices are also hidden. In general, the lack in information about how Aquatopia operates makes it difficult to find anything positive to point to with regards to sustainability.
The “Camelback Cares” portion of the resort’s website is the company’s only mention of social impact. Camelback vaguely claims that it wants to “help the community” without offering any information about what it is actually doing to make a positive impact. Camelback did invest $21 million dollars directly in the region upon construction of the resort in the mid 2010s with a focus on hiring local subcontractors and suppliers. The resort employs hundreds of workers and was projected to generate generate $152 million in tax revenue for the township of Tannersville, PA upon its first year of operations in 2015. But the resort offers little information about working conditions, wages, and benefits, and there have been complains of layoffs from a new management company and understaffing and low wages during the COVID-19 pandemic.