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Nik Wallenda, six-time Guinness World Recorder holder and descendant of the famed circus performers The Flying Wallendas, was granted permission to perform a stunt: walking a 1,800 ft. tightrope across Niagara Falls.
Though the daredevil was initially denied his request—or childhood dream, according to Wallenda—due to the Niagara Parks Commision’s citation of their policy against stunts, Wallenda was able to change their minds with the emergence of some new legislation and a projected tourism boost.
According to The Canadian Press, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed legislation last year instructing state park officials to give the green light on Wallenda’s walk. In conjunction with the suggested $120 million expected from television coverage of the event and Wallenda’s additional controls and safety measures, the board was swayed.
Said Janie Thomson, chairwoman of the Niagara Parks Commission, “This decision was approved in part in recognition of the role that stunting has played in the history and promotion of Niagara Falls.”
For Wallenda, this is a dream come true. “I hope it’s inspirational to everybody out there to never give up. It’s been passed down for generation in our family that you pursue your dreams and don’t ever give up.”
According to The Associated Press, Wallenda plans to traverse the gorge between the United States and Canada using a custom-made 2-inch wire hanging 60 to 70 feet above the 160-foot canyon. The rope will dip in the middle, making the 30 to 40 minute walk a down and uphill trek.
Wallenda’s stunt is reminiscent of the days in the mid-1800s when adrenaline-seekers soared over the falls in barrels and tightrope walkers navigated their way over the canyon (but never the falls).