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History of Ziplining

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Zipline tours have exploded in popularity in recent years, but it hasn’t always been fun and games. The origins of this recreational activity are surprisingly practical. The function of the zipline has evolved over time from a quick mode of transportation, to a scientific research tool, to an eco-tourism icon.

What is a Zipline?

A zipline is defined as a cable that is suspended above an incline to which a pulley and harness are attached for a rider. The incline of a zipline allows the rider to be pulled by gravity along the line. Today, ziplines are mainly used for recreation such as eco-tours. On these tours, guests can explore the beauty of islands like Maui and Kauai from above without leaving a big carbon footprint in the area.

Ziplining History

Historical evidence shows that ziplines were used in the Himalayas and Alps for multiple purposes including transportation. People living in these regions would hang ziplines to use for traversing dangerous areas. They also used ziplines to receive or send supplies from one place to another. Ziplines in these areas were used as an alternative transportation form to bridges because they were much quicker to build and use. Ziplining-Forest-Hawaii Ziplines have also been historically used for mountain climbing. They were used as an improvement on the Tyrolean Traverse for climbers trying to get from one point to another.  Ziplining is much more efficient than the Tyrol because it uses gravity to quicken the process rather than having to shimmy between points.

Ziplining Today

Modern ziplining was made popular by wildlife biologists. In the 1970s, Biologists were looking for a way to study and explore densely forested areas of Costa Rica without disturbing the environment. Rainforest ecosystems were the main areas they wanted to explore. The wildlife biologists set up ziplines throughout the rainforest in Costa Rica. The ziplines helped them have a bird’s-eye view of the forest areas and realistically witness natural events within the ecosystem.  All of this was done without disrupting the environment they were studying. This is when the business idea for zipline eco-tours came up. After the biologists concluded their research in Costa Rica, the ziplines were turned into a recreational canopy tour. The ziplines in Costa Rica became a popular tourist activity because they are a way to see and experience the area without disturbing the environment. This tour idea quickly spread from Costa Rica to many areas all around the world.

First Zipline Company in the United States

Skyline Eco-Adventures established the Haleakala Zipline course in 2002 as the first zipline company in the United States. Today, there are more than 200 zipline courses in the United States. It is pretty cool that we were the very first one! Skyline-Big-Island-zipline1 Many zipline tours are categorized as eco-friendly tourism. This is because people do not disturb the environment while viewing the area. The view is unlike anything you can see from the ground and you do not have to tackle the task of climbing a tree or mountain to see far into the horizon. You effortlessly fly like a bird through a natural habitat. Skyline’s mission statement is “to provide a safe and exciting means for seeing and experiencing the natural wonder of the Hawaiian Islands, while always aiding in the preservation and perpetuation of the islands unique land and culture, so that they may retain their body and spirit for all future generations.” Like Skyline, many zipline companies work to educate guests on the environment and ecosystems. Ziplines are not thought of as rides to many people. Instead, they are considered tours and adventures through lush landscapes that you normally would not have the opportunity to see. The bird's-eye view of the Hawaiian islands will leave you in awe of the beauty of nature. About Skyline Eco-Adventures: Experience the feeling of flight with Skyline Eco-Adventures’ zipline tours. Soar over a 250 foot waterfall and learn about Hawaii’s flora and fauna. To reserve a zipline tour today, visit: Start Planning Your Adventure Now