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May 10, 2014

Glacier Skywalk

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Not to be outdone by the Grand Canyon Skywalk, our neighbor to the north has just opened a new attraction in the Canadian Rockies.

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Below, excerpts from Rachel Lee Harris's May 5 New York Times story.

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A new attraction in Jasper National Park... is offering travelers a different world view this spring — one that will take them quite literally over the edge of a cliff.

The Glacier Skywalk experience was created to educate visitors about the formation of glaciers and their environmental impact, but for most the true thrill will be stepping out onto the glass-floored observation deck, 918 feet above the ground.

Visits begin at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center,  on the border of the Jasper and Banff National Parks in western Alberta, Canada.

From there, visitors will be shuttled to a trail — which can also be described as a cliffside walkway — dotted with interactive exhibits highlighting the formation, ecosystems and hydrological history of the Columbia Icefield and the eight glaciers it feeds, the runoff of which eventually finds its way into the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

But the climax is the transparent horseshoe platform jutting out of the rock over Sunwapta Canyon. (The Glacier Skywalk does not actually extend over a glacier, but rather offers views of several glaciers on the surrounding mountains.)

Made of glass, wood and Corten steel, which oxidizes without rust damage, the structure was designed to have almost no impact on the surrounding environment. It does not require the use of paint or other toxins for upkeep, runs on solar energy and is meant to mirror the natural landscape rather than distract from it.

The Skywalk is open daily from May through October. A visit to the platform is 24.95 dollars for adults, 12.50 dollars for those 6 to 16 and free for children 5 and younger (glacierskywalk.ca, 800-760-6934).

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Videos here.

The Glacier Skywalk blog is here.

May 10, 2014 at 08:01 PM | Permalink


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