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What you need to know for 01/23/2017

‘Treetop walk’ planned for Wild Center; cost to top $4M

‘Treetop walk’ planned for Wild Center; cost to top $4M

Officials at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake are pursuing regulatory approvals and conducting fundrai

Officials at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake are pursuing regulatory approvals and conducting fundraising for a major new attraction described as a “treetop walk.”

The planned “Wild Walk” would be an elevated walkway located at treetop level in the woods at the center, known officially as the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks.

The walkway would offer a variety of hands-on activities that will appeal to adults and children, including a roped area meant to resemble a spider’s web and a swinging bridge. “It’s going to be so amazing,” said Marci Bencze, spokeswoman for the center.

The target date for opening the new attraction is 2015, though that will depend on the center’s success in raising funds to cover the estimated $4 million to $5 million cost, Bencze said.

The museum recently filed an application for approval from the Adirondack Park Agency, which is currently taking public comment through March 21.

The plan has already secured significant state funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December announced a $1 million grant was awarded to the project from his regional economic development initiative program.

The elevated walkway would be “a major added attraction at the Wild Center to support tourism development in the region,” he said.

In the application to the APA, Wild Center officials said the entire 490-foot walkway will be below treetop level and will be handicapped-accessible. While the museum is open year-round, the elevated walkway is expected to be a three-season attraction.

Over time, the project also includes removing non-native Scotch pine in the construction area and replacing it with native plant species.

The Wild Center, which opened in 2006, has so far attracted more than 500,000 visitors to the Tupper Lake region.

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