It took me a moment to remember that day 12 years ago when I paddled to shore near where a new house was being built on Little Tupper Lake. I remember hoping that we might get some help for my canoe buddies and me as we struggled paddling across the Lake against the wind and waves during Hurricane Isabel. Dave, the contractor on-site, did indeed serve as our savior. He helped carry our boats to his pickup truck and drove us to where our cars were parked.
Dave St. Onge is now the Facilities Manager for the Wild Center and has worked tirelessly to bring the Wild Walk to fruition. This new addition to the Center, already an award-winning natural museum, is a jewel that will serve to further encourage others to appreciate our beloved Adirondacks.
A few friends and I toured this new exhibit on a members preview day before the July 4th grand opening (they call it a “skybreaking event”). It’s much more than an exhibit. It’s a nature walk at tree-line, much like the High Line in New York City, except one experiences nature in-the-wild rather than nature in-an-urban environment.
The Wild Walk is an educational experience where interpretive signs and displays inform visitors of the life of birds, other wild creatures, and how nature supports the continuation of the native species. Standing in the Bald Eagle’s nest, the size of which replicates a real nest, I marveled at the raptor’s building skills. The views afforded of the near and far mountains added a new dimension for those we are not hikers and mountain climbers, most likely the majority of the visitors.
The Wild Walk is an amusement park, in the best sense of the word. For example, after watching young kids testing their athletic skills by climbing around a giant spider web reproduction, we gave it a try. Mary walked down to the center of the web. Ruth and I gingerly slid down on our butts. It would have been more fun if we were part of the younger generation.
As described in the Center’s literature: “The Walk incudes a tree house you can explore, spacious platforms connected by a web of bridges, and raised walkways that twist and turn through the forest. Fascinating stories and interactive experiences along the Walk freeze moments in the forest, and visitors get to see them in intimate detail.”
I want to return often just to experience the freedom of walking above the trees.
Construction of the Wild Walk cost just slightly more than the Whitney house, where we first met Dave. The new Wild Walk will be enjoyed by many people of all ages.
Photos, from above: Lorraine, Dave, and Ruth; Ruth and Lorraine in the Eagle’s nest; and in the spider web.