A new elevated trail through Adirondack Park promises to be the forest equivalent of the High Line.
Wild Walk, opening July 4 in upstate New York, invites visitors to experience the forest from a whole new perspective. Highlights of the trail, which is a part of the 81-acre Wild Center in Tupper Lake, include bird watching (the site is home to 72 wild bird species); a giant spider web suspended 24 feet above the forest's floor that visitors can walk; and a bald eagle's nest fit for humans at the trail's highest point.
The idea behind the attractions at Wild Walk is that nature should feel "safely dangerous," since visitors aren't always on solid ground.
"It's all very safe, but it can feel unstable," said Howard Fish, director of communications for Wild Walk. "It gives you chances to see nature in new ways. It's interpretative."
The Wild Walk has an objective similar to that of High Line on Manhattan's west side: to show people aspects of an environment from a different point of view. The High Line even served as inspiration, as people involved in developing Wild Walk walked the High Line during the planning stages.
The largest strategic challenge was building the project in the middle of the woods, as the structure itself is built on uneven ground.
"I couldn't even guess how many angled parts there are," Fish said. "I don't think there's a straight line on the whole thing. It twists and turns."
Computer animation work done in New York City contributed to the planning of Wild Walk, which was designed by Charles P. "Chip" Reay.
Wild Walk is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, providing side paths to those who need the option in order to access the elevated trail. "Anybody who wants the view can do it," Fish said.
The highly anticipated trail is expected to boost the area's tourism industry.
"It will prove to be a must-see attraction that truly differentiates the Adirondacks," said Kim Rielly, communications director for the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.
Opening: July 4
Summer admission (through Columbus Day): $20 adults (18-64), $18 military and seniors (65+), $13 youth (5-17), free ages 4 and under and for members
Getting there: 5-hour drive from midtown Manhattan
Info: 518-359-7800, wildcenter.org/wildwalk