Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune | TBO.com
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Local News

Wallenda eyes 2015 date to cross Georgia gorge


Published:   |   Updated: February 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Sarasota high-wire walker Nik Wallenda has a date in mind for crossing a nearly 1,000-foot-deep gorge in the northeast Georgia mountains, 45 years after his great-grandfather accomplished the feat.

He intends to walk across Tallulah Gorge on or very near July 18, 2015, his agent, Winston Simone, said Friday.

That will be the 45th anniversary of the day Karl Wallenda successfully crossed it as an estimated 30,000 spectators watched. Karl Wallenda later fell to his death while trying to walk a cable between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1978.

An application for an event would have to be submitted to state officials because the gorge is part of Tallulah Gorge State Park, said Kim Hatcher, a spokeswoman with Georgia State Parks. She said it wasn’t known how long it might take to approve that once it’s submitted.

“I don’t know of any public event that we have hosted of this magnitude,” Hatcher said, adding that state offi cials are very interested in the idea.

“We are very interested in working with his team,” Hatcher said. “This would be an opportunity for national exposure for the park.”

Wallenda discussed the idea of crossing Tallulah Gorge in an interview with The Associated Press hours after he traversed a 100-foot-high tightrope inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Feb. 8.

The idea of crossing the same span that his great-grandfather did holds enormous appeal to him, he said then. “To be able to walk literally in his footsteps is what my life’s about,” he said after the Georgia Dome walk.

The gorge walk would add to Nik Wallenda’s accomplishments that include his crossing of Niagara Falls in 2012 and a gorge in the Grand Canyon area of Arizona last year.

Aside from engineering and rigging a cable across Tallulah Gorge, high winds could also present challenges. Early Friday morning, for instance, a 28-mph gust was recorded at a U.S. Forest Service weather station in the area.

Wallenda recently announced plans to perform in a twice-daily show this summer at the Darien Lake amusement park in western New York.

Comments