Highwire artist and acrobat Nik Wallenda wants to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope and he is willing to jump through hoops to make it happen.
Nik Wallenda has met with Canadian authorities and members of the Niagara Parks Commission to gain permission to cross Niagara Falls on a highwire.
The daredevil, who is a descendant of Karl Wallenda, founder of the Flying Wallendas, is an established highwire entertainer who set the record for the longest and highest highwire walk, and bicycle ride, in the Guiness Book of World Records in 2008 for his feat at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Wallenda walked, then bicycled across a tightrope suspended 13 and a half stories off the ground from the building, without a net, on a live Today Show broadcast.
Nik Wallenda and the Flying Wallendas are best known for completing their highwire acts without a safety net below to protect them from a fall during their amazing and dangerous performances.
Wallenda, who began his career on the tightrope at the age of four with his world famous family, now has his sights set on the 1800 foot long gap above the rushing water at the famous Niagara Falls, and he needs approval from the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) before he can attempt the stunt.
Walks across the Falls have been banned since 1911 by both Canada and the United States but Wallenda has persuaded the New York legislature to allow him to attempt the death defying stunt, reports Associated Press.
Wallenda met Thursday with the NPC to preliminarily discuss his plans for the walk. He will be required to submit a proposal for review by the commission before obtaining their endorsement for the event he has planned for 2012, according to a report by CBC News.
Wallenda, who claims to have walked thousands of highwires, wants to become the first person to walk across the falls in over a century. He told reporters, as he looked out over the Niagara Gorge:
"My dream is actually to walk right in the middle of that mist and disappear, walk out the other end," he said motioning to the opaque cloud rising from the crashing water into the air. The wire doesn't become slippery when wet, he said, and the suede-leather shoes his mother makes for him become stickier with moisture."
Following Thursday's meeting with the NPC, Wallenda is optimistic about his chances of gaining permission to cross the Falls, reports the Buffalo News. Winston Simone, Wallenda's manager said, "We wanted to give her and her board the respect of introducing ourselves and state that we realize it's a process and whatever we have to do to get the board's approval, we're going to comply with."
Wallenda plans to submit a safety plan that will include divers and a helicopter and he is hoping to impress the Niagara Parks Commission with his proposal.
His plan has already received the support of the Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Diodati believes Wallenda's stunt "will be good for tourism and a boost to the city's economy."
"There won't be a vacant hotel room in the city. We typically attract upwards of 12 million people a year and there is no reason why we can't attract 13 million people," he told CBC News.
Video of Wallenda's world record highwire walk from the Prudential Center in New Jersey.
Video of the highwire walk between the two towers of the ten-story Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico crossed by Wallenda in 2011. This is the same stunt that killed his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda in 1978, a year before Nik Wallenda was born.