Care to zip over Niagara Falls? In this July 19, 2016 photo provided by WildPlay Ltd., tourists suspended above the water from zip lines make their way at speeds of up to 40 mph toward the the mist of the Horseshoe Falls, on the Ontario side of Niagara Falls. (Kien Tran/WildPlay Ltd. via AP)
Care to zip over Niagara Falls?
Lexile

Niagara Falls is the latest natural wonder to add a zip line, offering honeymooners and everyone else the chance to take an adrenaline-pumping plunge toward churning mist at speeds topping 40 mph.
 
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's a trend that's 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," argued Tom Benson, co-founder and chief experience officer at WildPlay Element Parks, which built the Niagara Falls zip line. "How do you take a teenager and get them away from a game console to something that is going to capture their imagination?"
 
The booming popularity of commercial zip lines over the past five years - there are at least 200 in the United States alone - means more people are experiencing nature in a way that would make Thoreau dizzy.
 
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 in Alaska.
 
A zip line ride in Mexico's Copper Canyon runs more than a mile and a half, one in Nepal has a drop of 2,000 feet, and another in Sun City, South Africa, boasts top speeds of 100 mph.
 
"You feel all this air rushing past you, it's this great almost roller coaster-esque feeling," Quillan Brady said after riding on the new Eagle Flyer zip line at Lake George in New York's Adirondacks. "But really, what I think makes it is looking around and seeing all this natural New York beauty."
 
Niagara Falls-area resident James Bannister doesn't quite see it that way. To him, the new zip line there amounts to a "circus midway-style attraction."
 
"Every once in a while somebody comes along and says, 'Boy, you could build another great attraction here!' As if the falls itself wasn't enough of an attraction," Bannister said.
 
Zip line fans say it's still possible to marvel at nature while whizzing above it at highway speeds.
 
At Niagara Falls, WildPlay's Benson said his four lines angling 2,200 feet along the Canadian side of the gorge were designed to be sensitive to the local environment.
 
Catalina Island's zip line makes stops for presentations at designated "eco-stations." And riders of the Lake George zip line who were questioned after their rides said they had a new perspective on the natural wonder.
 
The owner of the Lake George line, Ralph Macchio Sr. (father of the "Karate Kid" actor with the same name), said he got the idea for his attraction by gazing out from atop the majestic Adirondack peaks.
 
"I thought, 'Gee, if you could look at it like you were flying like a bird and get that view, that would be an Adirondack experience,'" Macchio said. "And that's why I built the zip line."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are there objections to the zip line?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (116)
  • sydneys-cel
    9/07/2016 - 09:55 a.m.

    An objective to the zip line is the environment around it.

  • monicas-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:25 p.m.

    Niagara falls is so pretty. I would love to do this. Tourists will love this.

  • irisp-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:25 p.m.

    Some are objecting to the new biplane attraction because it takes away from the raw beauty of the falls at Niagra. Tourists and even those that work at the falls feel it's becoming a "circus" experience instead of a time to appreciate the natural wonder of the world. As someone who has been to Niagra Falls, I personally feel that having a view right above the falls would be amazing and those not he zip line could still appreciate their surroundings.

  • kaileew-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:26 p.m.

    Niagara Falls is an amazing destination, and now it's even better. A zip line was added taking people over the waters at speeds up to 40 mph. The popularity in zip lines has grown significantly over the last five years. In fact, there are at least 200 zip lines just in America.

  • jacklynt-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:28 p.m.

    The greatest and newest attraction to the Niagara Falls is the zip line. Worker says the zip line brought a "circus" of tourist wanting to experience the attraction. Some Tourist say that trying to look at every thing while on the zip line is nearly impossible with the high speeds.

  • noahr-ste
    9/08/2016 - 01:33 p.m.

    I have been to Niagara Falls when the zip line was running and its actually really cool. Yes you do not actually get that close to the waterfall but the experience would be amazing. It is about a 45 second ride of amazement.

  • zakrym-ste
    9/09/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    I think that would be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. It would be so cool to hover over one of the worlds most visited waterfalls. I would definitely do that one day.

  • emmab-cel
    9/12/2016 - 10:28 a.m.

    Niagara Falls is beautiful. I love natural wonders like that and I think adding a zip line is a really cool idea. By doing that we get another view that most people have never gotten. I think it will help get people out of the house and appreciate what we have on Earth more! Some people don't like it but change can be a good thing especially if it helps us appreciate what we have in the world so we can preserve it.

  • john16-war
    9/16/2016 - 02:01 p.m.

    It was very interesting and cool to see where they go. I would like to do it one time with a bunch of friends and family. The zip line that falls 2,000 feet seems scary but I would do anything once. One day I would love to do it.

  • gisellet-fil
    9/21/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    I think that the idea of having a zipline right above the falls would be amazing looking down into the cascading rapids and also great attraction for tourist.

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