High-wire walker sets sights on Georgia gorge

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High-wire walker sets sights on Georgia gorge
FILE - Daredevil Nik Wallenda crosses a tightrope 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge, Ariz., on Sunday, June 23, 2013, on the Navajo Nation outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. In a Feb. 8, 2014 interview, Wallenda said he hopes to cross the Tallulah Gorge in the northeast Georgia mountains in the near future, as his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, did in 1970. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE- In this June 4, 2011 file photo, high-wire acrobats Delilah Wallenda, right, lowers her head as her son Nik Wallenda, left, crosses over her during their high-wire act where the two simultaneously walked across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They were honoring Nik's great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who tried to perform the same feat in 1978 but fell to his death at age 73. On Friday, June 15, 2012, Karl?s great grandson, Nick Wallenda, will attempt a high wire walk over Niagara Falls on live television, hoping to write his famous family's name into the 153-year-old legend of daredevils who've "conquered" the natural wonder. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File)
Karl Wallenda as he walks across the 1,000 foot cable at Tallulah Gorge, Georgia on July 18, 1970. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz)
Low camera angle makes plane appear lower than Karl Wallenda crossing Tallulah Gorge in Georgia on July 18, 1970. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz)
High wire artist Karl Wallenda beams as he nears the end of his walk on a high wire across the gorge, 750-feet high, at Tallulah Falls, Georgia on July 18, 1970. During the 1,000-foot walk, Wallenda performed two head stands for "our boys in Vietnam." (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)
General view of the area from below, with Karl Wallenda at center of Tallulah Gorge, Georgia on July 18, 1970. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz)
Headstanding high wire artist Karl Wallenda during his 1,000-foot walk 750-foot above the Gorge at Tallulah Falls, Georgia on July 18, 1970. The 65-year-old performer completed the stroll without incident. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)
A workman fitting guy wires to the cable on which aerialist Karl Wallenda will walk across Tallulah Gorge, zips to his work platform in the center of the sagging cable on a pulley fitted with a ladder at Tallulah Falls, Georgia on July 14, 1970. The German-born Wallenda, patriarch of the famous circus family, will walk on the 1000-foot-cable on Saturday afternoon 700 feet above the valley floor. There will be no net. (AP Photo/Joe Holloway Jr.)

ATLANTA (AP) - Daredevil tightrope walker Nik Wallenda is setting his sights on a new goal: the nearly 1,000-foot (305-meter) deep Tallulah Gorge in the northeast Georgia mountains.

The Georgia gorge holds special meaning for Wallenda, since his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda crossed it on a high wire on July 18, 1970.

"To be able to walk literally in his footsteps is what my life's about," said Nik Wallenda, who discussed the idea in an interview hours after he crossed a 100-foot(30 1/2-meter)-high tightrope inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Feb. 8.

Karl Wallenda later plunged to his death while trying to walk a cable between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978.

Nik Wallenda says he's already visited the gorge near the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls, and he's considering attempting the feat within the next three years.

"Hopefully we can make it happen," Wallenda told the AP.

The Georgia gorge walk would add to accomplishments that include his televised crossing of Niagara Falls in June 2012 that gained international attention. Last year, he crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge in the Grand Canyon area of Arizona.

In northeast Georgia, local leaders say a high-wire walk across the Tallulah Gorge has the potential of drawing thousands of tourists to the area and increasing its visibility globally.

"It would put the Tallulah Gorge and Tallulah Gorge State Park back on the map," said Teka Earnhardt, the administrator at the Rabun County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It would be huge for us."

Karl Wallenda's walk across the gorge drew an estimated 30,000 spectators to the north Georgia mountains. Hikers can still see remnants of the 1970 stunt, such as a large metal platform used to support the cable that was used.

The area, particularly the Chattooga River, is still known as the site of filming for the 1972 film "Deliverance." The nearby Tallulah Falls Opry, a weekly gathering of bluegrass musicians in the nearby town, also draws some tourists to the area.

"We're very interested in working with Nik Wallenda," Earnhardt said. "It is something that we are already trying to work on."

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