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Catalina adds some 'zip' to local tourism

March 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Beginning April, tourists to Catalina can zip over canyons at up to 40 miles an hour on a newly built zipline.Santa Catalina Island Company has invested more than a million dollars in the line to attract younger visitors to the island's sagging tourist industry.

The Catalina Zipline Eco-Tour is scheduled to open April 14.

The zipline is a harness connected to a pulley that runs on overhead cables. Customers will pay $89 to ride nearly 3,700 feet in five segments. One stretch is 300 feet in the air.

The zipline is designed to whisk 300 customers per day across five segments of rocky, brush and cactus-filled canyons.

One trip would take about 90 minutes.

Some longtime residents expressed concern that by adding the zipline, Catalina is in danger of losing its charm as a slice of old California.

Earlier this year, a four-hour bus tour of the island's wilderness areas was shut down because of declining ticket sales.