The High Line has inspired countless urban projects, from local ideas like the QueensWay to international schemes like the Chapultepec Project in Mexico City, but it’s not as often that we see the elevated park cited as inspiration for rural projects. But that’s the case for Wild Walk, an upstate treetop trail nestled in the Adirondacks, according to Dezeen. The trail is located at the Wild Center, a 79-acre nature reserve within Adirondack Park, the largest natural park in the lower 48 states. Wild Walk is elevated between 30 and 40 feet off the ground and is a series of bridges and paths supported by pointed towers made from pre-rusted steel tubes, which resemble the cabin-like architecture one would expect to find in the mountains.
According to the Wild Center, it was the height of the High Line that sparked their interest. They note Nicolai Ouroussoff’s review for the New York Times where he describes the High Line: “….as mesmerizing as the design is, it is the height of the High Line that makes it so magical, and that has such a profound effect on how you view the city. Lifted just three stories above the ground, you are suddenly able to perceive, with remarkable clarity, aspects of the city’s character you would never glean from an office…The High Line is the only place in New York where you can have this experience.”
With this in mind, the folks behind the Wild Center realized that all of the Adirondack trails were at ground level, and so they decided to change that. “It’s not that you might have never climbed a tree, or looked out a window at a scene, it’s simply that walking along the treetops in a place you have never been, and because of that, you just see everything in a different light, and can start to imagine how our regular point of view, that seemed pretty big, is really just fractional,” said Derek Prior, who led the graphics team for the project.
Architect Charles P. Reay, a former senior vice president at American firm HOK, created the design for Wild Walk, along with that of the Wild Center’s main museum building. Reay is best known for working with Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames on the IBM Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing. He chose to work with galvanized steel for its low cost and resemblance to the colors and shapes of the forest. “The idiom is the forest; it is not trying to build the forest and hide that we built something, but to let the tree forms be a statement of a simplified natural form,” he said.
Special features of the 15,240-foot-long Walk include a four-story twig tree house, swinging bridges, a spider’s web where people can hang out, and a full-sized bald eagle’s nest that welcomes guests in at the highest point. Many of the trees visitors will pass by are white pines, the tallest in the Adirondacks, reaching up to 160 feet.
Learn more about visiting the Wild Center here.
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All photos via the Wild Center