Daredevil Approved to Tightrope Walk Over Niagara Falls

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REUTERS / Doug Benz

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.

After months of lobbying the Ontario Parks Commission, Nik Wallenda will finally fulfill his childhood dream. He will walk on a tightrope from the United States to Canada over the Niagara Falls.

Though the commission cited worries about cost, natural beauty and of course, safety in their initial dismissal of his application, they finally caved, the Associated Press reports. For more than 100 years, stunts over the landmark have been prohibited.

(MORE: Watch: Daredevil Climbs Germany’s Tallest Mountain By Walking on Cable)

A seventh-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas, a family of daredevils and circus performers, Wallenda told commissioners he was “thrilled to death” upon hearing the news.

“To get that green light, I feel like I’m on top of the world,” he said. “The purpose, the public purpose for actually doing it is to pay tribute to the rich history, the long ago history of tightrope walking and daredevils at Niagara Falls.”

The 33-year-old aerial artists says he has “done walks longer and higher” than the upcoming 30 to 45 minutes walk across the 220-ft-high Horse Shoe Falls. According to Newser, he will use an 1,800-foot cable that’s two-inches thick and will walk without a tether.

A thrill-seeker since the age of 2, Wallenda’s 2008 bike ride across skyscrapers in Newark, New Jersey landed him one of his six Guinness Book of Records for the longest, highest bicycle ride, the Daily Mail reports.

According to the Daily Mail, this will be the first time in history anyone has attempted to walk over the waterfall. Though acrobat Charles Blondin traversed the gorge on a tightrope in 1859, it was not over the actual falls.

Wallenda and the commission have yet to set a date, but last September New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill giving him one year to perform the stunt, the AP reports. The Niagara Parks Commission has deemed such feats only be attempted once every two decades.

“Our primary focus is on recognizing that daredevil acts and stunting, tightrope walking, that they form part of the rich history of Niagara Falls itself and it’s being recognized and in a way paid tribute to,” Commission Chairwoman Janice Thomson said, the New York Daily News reports.

According to the AP, Wallenda has a deal with the Discovery channel to broadcast the spectacle live.

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