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JUNE 30 - JULY 08, 2015

Canadian Zip Lines to Trash Niagara Gorge, State Parks taking notes

By James Hufnagel

JUNE 30, 2015

When zip lining in the gorge, it's advisable to bring a change of underwear.

As readers of the Niagara Falls Reporter know, the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) has received conditional approval from the province of Ontario to contract with start-up outfit, Niagara Adventure Excursions, Inc., and Wildplay, a British Columbia zip line developer, for the construction of four zip lines, descending 2,200 feet from the Grand View Marketplace (near the Hornblower docks) across the American Falls and in, through and down the Niagara Gorge.

 In addition, an "aerial adventure course" is slated for the Whirlpool area, consisting of more zip lines, "log ladders, rope swings, scrambling walls, hanging nets, spinning logs, wobbly bridges, tightropes, monkey bars and other games."

 The available courses will be classified with respect to intensity, including "Kids", "Classic" and "Extreme".

 The intrusiveness and disruption such diversions would impose on the gorge experience would be considerable. Imagine taking in such a circus spectacle at Whirlpool State Park. One of the few pristine areas left, its serenity punctuated by non-stop screams attendant to such thrill rides.

It's almost unimaginable, but it may become a reality as early as next spring if all goes according to the Parks Commission's schedule.

Utilizing Orwellian doublespeak that rings familiar with residents on this side of the border, having endured decades of self-serving propaganda from local politicians and State Parks apologists ourselves, the Canadian parks bureaucracy worked hard to justify the ill-advised projects, demonstrating that greed and contempt for nature are not restricted to the U.S. side.

"These two new attractions are in keeping with Niagara Parks' other natural attractions and provide another unique way to interpret the Falls, the Niagara Gorge and all the lands along the Niagara Parkway," stated one parks commissioner, "without impacting views or access enjoyed by other visitors to the Falls," laughably characterizing them as "eco-tourism".

"Our goal is to provide both adventure and educational opportunities as guests explore nature..." said Niagara Excursions' Lindsay DiCosimo, citing the new "human-powered, eco-adventure" carnival rides.

"The new zip line at Grand View Marketplace and the aerial adventure course at Thompson Point (Whirlpool) represent advanced designs that will enhance access to the local natural beauty of Niagara Parks," added Wildplay's "Chief Experience Officer".

Of course, we're hardly in a position to point fingers at the Canadians. Between south Robert Moses Parkway "removal", the Niagara Falls State Park Landscape "Improvements" and Glynn's new Maid of the Mist "winter quarters", State Parks has done a fantastic job managing the 80% of city waterfront it owns to enrich Glynn, Delaware North and Albany, a carefully-planned strategy to direct eight million tourists a year into the state's park via the Moses, where they park, eat, sightsee, purchase souvenirs and then leave on the same parkway after three or four hours, without need or reason to enter the city and dine in a rainforest.

Not being the cash cow that Niagara Falls State Park is, the gorge had always been an afterthought for State Parks, at least until Glynn needed a new boatyard. It appears that they've begun nibbling around the edges, although not in a good way.





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