|Nik Wallenda poses for a photo before speaking to the media after a meeting with officials from the state's parks department, in anticipation of a high wire walk across the gorge to Canada, at Niagara Falls, New York August 3, 2011.|
Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the famed tight-rope-walking family, will be the first person in decades to attempt such a stunt at the waterfall, which in the early parts of the 20th century was a hotspot for daredevils seeking thrills and fame. Concerns over performer safety and environmental integrity put an end to the practice years ago, but Wallenda's persistent lobbying of both the New York state and Canadian governments led both sides to give him the thumb's up. The Niagara Parks Commission had originally refused Wallenda's request, but reversed their decision earlier this year, while the New York government had to pass a law to make the stunt legal.
The walk, which will be televised, could bring in as much as $120 million to the local economy, according to one analysis. Wallenda's attempt will also be the only one for at least the next 20 years, as the Niagara Parks Commission says that's the soonest that they'll consider any other similar stunts.
So long as it goes right, of course – seeing a man plunge hundreds of feet to his watery grave probably isn't the kind of stuff you'd want to see in a tourist brochure.
[Globe & Mail]