Canopy walkway

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One of the hanging bridges of the 'Sky walk' in Santa Elena, Costa Rica disappearing into the clouds
Urban forest canopy walk in Atlanta Botanical Garden

Canopy walkways - also called canopy walks, treetop walks or treetop walkways - provide pedestrian access to the forest canopy. Early walkways consisted of bridges between trees in the canopy of a forest; mostly linked up with platforms inside or around the trees. They were originally intended as access to the upper regions of ancient forests for scientists conducting canopy research. Eventually, because they provided only limited, one-dimensional access to the trees, they were abandoned for canopy cranes. Today they serve as ecotourism attractions in places such as Dhlinza Forest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia, Sedim River, Kulim and Kakum National Park, Ghana.

The Kendeda Canopy Walk in Atlanta, Georgia, USA is a more recent variation that provides visitors with the ability to move through a 180-metre-long (600 ft) section of urban forest at an elevation of 12 metres (40 ft). The walkway construction is a somewhat unusual reverse suspension design.

Australia[edit]

Tahune Airwalk, Tasmania

Canopy or treetop walkways are especially popular attractions in Australia. They can be found in most states and a variety of environments.

Tasmania[edit]

The Tahune AirWalk is located in state forest near Geeveston in southern Tasmania. Opened in 2001 it consists of a 619 metre long elevated walkway incorporating a 37 metre high observation tower and a cantilever 50 metres above the Huon River. Other activities at the complex include zip-line hang gliding.[1]

Victoria[edit]

The Otway Fly claims to be the longest and highest treetop walk in the world, It is 600 metres long with a maximum height of 47 metres.[2] Located on freehold land in the Otway Range in western Victoria, the walk traverses mixed species forest with trees such as Myrtle beech and Mountain ash, the tallest hardwood species in the world. The mid story environment includes an abundance of soft tree ferns and other smaller trees. The Otway Fly also offers zip-line tours where customers can glide 30 metres above the floor of the rainforest. The walkway was built in 2003 for $6.5 million, it was originally operated by MFS Living and Leisure before being sold in 2011 to Merlin Entertainments, one of the worlds largest operators of tourist attractions.

Victoria also boasts the Donna Buang Rainforest Gallery. Located east of Melbourne at Cement Creek on the slopes of Mount Donna Buang, it consists of a 350 metre long metal walkway elevated one metre above ground level plus a cantilever platform 15 metres above the ground which allows canopy level views of the cool temperate rainforest.[3] While there is interpretive signage,[4] the Rainforest Gallery is unstaffed and entry is free.

New South Wales[edit]

The Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk includes a 500 metre long steel walkway up to 30 metres above the ground and a 45 metre high tower with views over the nearby Tasman Sea. The facility also includes zip-line tours.[5] Built in 2008 for a cost of $6.5 million, like the Otway Fly it was initially operated by MFS Living and Leisure until 2011 when it was sold to Merlin Entertainments.

Queensland[edit]

The Mamu Tropical Skywalk is located near Innisfail in the north of the state. Owned by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, it was opened in 2008.[6] It features a 350 metre long elevated walkway that makes its way through tropical rainforest 15 metres above the ground and includes a 37 metre high observation tower.

The Tree Top Walk, was the first canopy walkway constructed in Australia. It can be found in Lamington National Park at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, in southern Queensland. Built in 1988, it is 180 metres in length and constructed using 9 small suspension bridges. At its highest point it reaches 34 metres above ground level. [7]

Western Australia[edit]

Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk near Denmark in southern Western Australia includes sections up to 40 metres above the ground.[8] It is owned by the state government's Department of Parks and Wildlife.

References[edit]