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Cover Story
by Nicole Hylands

Bootleg Canyon Flightlines

Have Have you ever imagined soaring from the top of a mountain with an eagle’s eye view? Or envisioned a new way of exploring a mountain terrain without leaving a trace of your journey behind? If so, let your imagination become reality and get out to experience the thrill and the beauty of Bootleg Canyon Flightlines, Boulder City’s newest eco-adventure, opening soon at the base of Red Mountain.

If Flightlines don’t mean anything to you, think zip-lines for simplicity’s sake, a term most people are more familiar with, and you might get the basic picture. However, there is nothing simple about Bootleg Canyon Flightlines. Suspended from cables and comfortably sitting in a para-gliding harness, you travel from point to point by flying over the desert ecosystem from the top of Red Mountain. Instead of hiking or cycling down the trails, you are exploring the mountain from an aerial trail. Add to that some of the safest new patented technology, impressive distances, spectacular views, and highly qualified guides, and you have the Bootleg Canyon Flightlines, the only Aerial Trails system in Nevada.

The Aerial Trails or Flightlines project is owned and operated by Greenheart, LLC (“Greenheart”), an eco-tourism company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Greenheart has a strong history of designing, fabricating and installing canopy walkways, Flightlines and aerial trekking adventures around the world in countries such as Guyana, Haiti, Brazil, Panama, Ghana, Belize, the U.S. and Canada. With each of these projects, Greenheart has been committed to promoting and protecting nature while implementing systems that support and sustain economies.

Greenheart is now excited to be working in cooperation with Boulder City to develop this new venture. Ian Green, co-founder of Greenheart, says that if you look back at the history of the Canyon, Bootleg has gone from having ground trails (1930s) to bike trails (1990s) to Aerial Trails/Flightlines in 2008. He feels that Flightlines are the evolution of the current trail system from a physical, educational, and social standpoint. “It is clear that we need more people outdoors and active,” says Ian, “while respecting the fact that for a great many a 13 mile hike through the canyon isn’t an attractive first step; but soaring like an eagle across the canyon combined with stunning backdrops and interpretive guides just might be.” He wants people to have a natural experience that is both thrilling and educational. “The Flightlines themselves will catch people’s attention, and the beauty of the surrounding landscape, combined with our guide’s knowledge of the natural and cultural history of this area, will allow people to leave with a greater appreciation and respect for this amazing desert ecosystem.”

Bootleg Canyon Flightlines consists of a multi-run and multi-line series of lines that range in length from 1150 to 2550 feet. After guests assemble at the base for orientation, training will be provided on an 833-foot long practice run that will allow them an opportunity to become familiar with the system. The practice run will also give anyone having second thoughts a chance to back out before being committed to the full tour experience. But for most it will only heighten the excitement for all that lies ahead. Afterwards, groups of approximately 12 guests are shuttled up to the top of Red Mountain where they will begin their descent on a series of 4 lines flying across canyons at speeds of up to 50 mph. The entire tour package will last approximately 2.5 hours and covers a total of 1.56 miles.

The aerial trails are designed to have very little impact on the environment when operational. The towers that you see on the mountain will soon be painted to match the color of the surrounding landscape, and any traces of construction will be repaired and replanted. Because you only walk on the ground at the beginning and end of each line, there is very little impact on the desert over the length of the trails.

In line with the eco-tourism mandate of “conserving the environment and sustaining the well being of the local community”, Greenheart is developing relationships with local conservation companies and Boulder City to create a sustainable low impact recreation area that will provide for itself and bring new money into the economy. Greenheart would like to thank Brent Thomson, former Mayor Bob Ferraro, Mayor Roger Tobler, Roger Hall, Vicki Mayes, Brok Armantrout, Mike Pacini, Jill Rowland-Lagan, Andrea Anderson, Harold Begley, Dave Olsen, Patty Sullivan, Rod Woodbury, Rose Ann Rabiola Miele, Eldorado Rock, DuPont Engineering, and the many others in Boulder City who have played a major role in making this project a reality.

The ongoing development of the Bootleg Canyon Flightlines project includes the building of a sustainable Interpretive Center near the desert park with plans to break ground and begin construction later this year.

Bootleg Canyon Flightlines is currently recruiting for guide positions. For more information on tours call 702-293-6885.

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