Niagara Falls has become the latest natural wonder to add a zip line, offering thrill-seekers the chance to take an adrenaline-pumping plunge towards churning mist at speeds topping 64kph.
The elevated cable rides have evolved from a novel way to explore jungle canopies to almost necessary additions to lure tourists in the 21st century to established destinations.
It is a trend that has exposed a rift between those who approach nature like contemplative monks and others who require an extreme, Indiana Jones-style experience.
“We can’t make these into museums. We have to keep the general public motivated to get out there”, said Tom Benson, co-founder at WildPlay Element Parks, which built the Niagara Falls zipline.
“How do you take a teenager and get them away from a game console to something that is going to capture their imagination?” he asked.
Commercial ziplines have boomed in popularity over the past five years, with at least 200 in the US.
They can ride above the tree line at New River Gorge in West Virginia, over California’s Catalina Island, above lush Hawaiian landscapes and in view of Denali mountain in Alaska.
A zip line ride in Mexico’s Copper Canyon runs about 2km, one in Nepal has a drop of 600m and another in Sun City, South Africa, boasts top speeds of 160kph.
“You feel all this air rushing past you, it’s this great almost rollercoaster-esque feeling”, Quillan Brady said after riding on the new Eagle Flyer zipline at Lake George in New York’s Adirondacks.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved