Friday, August 28, 2020

Look Up: Redwood Skywalk in Progress

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 10:15 AM

A recent walk past Eureka’s Sequoia Park entrance gate and a right turn on the path going behind the zoo revealed what at first looked like Ewoks at work high up in the redwoods. But instead of seeing the fictional species of small mammal bipeds from Endor at work building arboreal huts (see the 1983 Star Wars film Return of the Jedi), I caught glimpses of men and women from the Tigard, Oregon-based company Synergo at work creating the Redwood Sky Walk, an elevated 100-foot-high walkway.

click to enlarge One of the Synergo aerial construction employees paused to wave at walkers on the trail below while installing one of  several Redwood Sky Walk platforms that encircle redwood trees. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • One of the Synergo aerial construction employees paused to wave at walkers on the trail below while installing one of several Redwood Sky Walk platforms that encircle redwood trees.

The future walkway, mostly ADA accessible, will be include a network of suspended bridges connecting a stand of old growth and mature second growth redwood trees within and beyond the zoo’s border. While most of the Skywalk will be about 60 feet above ground, one bridge will be 100 feet from the forest floor, approximately one third of the way up the 250-foot-tall redwoods.

click to enlarge The Synergo aerial construction workers are skilled at protecting their own safety with climbing gear as well as installing the aluminum beams that form the base of the Redwood Sky Walk platforms high up in the redwood trees. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The Synergo aerial construction workers are skilled at protecting their own safety with climbing gear as well as installing the aluminum beams that form the base of the Redwood Sky Walk platforms high up in the redwood trees.

The local company Greenway Partners did the initial project designs for the Redwood Sky Walk and the subcontractor team from Synergo — which specializes in the design and installation of challenge courses, zip line tours and aerial adventure parks — was hired to do the aerial construction work. Its team is currently building a 28-foot-high structure and the platforms made from natural colored aluminum beams that encircle redwood trees at various heights. The platforms will eventually be connected by a network of suspended bridges.

click to enlarge A Synergo aerial construction worker rappelled down from the Redwood Sky Walk platform that he and a co-worker were installing. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • A Synergo aerial construction worker rappelled down from the Redwood Sky Walk platform that he and a co-worker were installing.

As you walk the adjacent path, you can watch the Synergo employees wearing helmets and safety harnesses as they rappel down from or ascend ropes up the redwood trees, and work on the ring platforms. A Synergo team foreperson on site estimated the Skywalk construction would probably be finished by late October, but zoo personnel are not yet sure of when it will open for use due to the ongoing pandemic. (The photos with this story were taken over the last three weeks on visits to the park.)

click to enlarge One of the Synergo aerial construction workers uses a special technique using ascenders to climb a rope and return to  where a platform is being installed for the Redwood Sky Walk. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • One of the Synergo aerial construction workers uses a special technique using ascenders to climb a rope and return to where a platform is being installed for the Redwood Sky Walk.

The project is a part of phase two of the zoo master plan, which includes upgrades to existing facilities and the addition of a Natural Predators exhibit featuring mountain lions, coyotes and bears.

click to enlarge The Redwood Sky Walk's platforms are being installed between 60 and 100 feet high in Sequoia Park redwood trees that are around 250 feet tall. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The Redwood Sky Walk's platforms are being installed between 60 and 100 feet high in Sequoia Park redwood trees that are around 250 feet tall.

The agenda for the Eureka City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1 includes an update on the construction and progress of the Redwood Sky Walk by the interim city manager.

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