Maui Zipline History
MAUI ZIPLINE HISTORY
When it comes to Maui zipline history, it’s best to start at the beginning. The first ziplines were used purely for utilitarian purposes. In the remote Nujiang Valley in China, ziplines were used in lieu of bridges and were often used to transport goods across dangerous terrain. More recently, ziplines were used by the first Australian settlers to send wares across the outback.
The modern zipline started to take shape in the 1970s when wildlife biologist Donald Perry began brainstorming ways to collect research from the Costa Rican canopy. Initially, Perry set about shooting ropes into tree branches so he could climb into the overstory. Then, in 1979, after five years of trial and error, the biologist finally dreamt up the perfect way to explore the jungle canopy while leaving the environment virtually untouched: a makeshift zipline.
Nearly two decades after Perry’s first zip through the canopy, Canadian entrepreneur Darren Hreniuk opened the world’s first commercial zipline in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Ziplining quickly became popular among visitors to Costa Rica, and zipline tours cropped up across the Central American nation. Hreniuk is credited as the pioneer of commercial ziplining, and his first zipline is still in operation today.
In 2002, the first zipline course in the United States opened on Maui’s shores. Skyline Hawaii’s flagship Haleakala course paved the way for zipline tours in the United States. Today, there are over 400 commercial zipline courses in the United States and seven on Maui alone.
Several years after opening their Haleakala Course, Skyline Hawaii launched another zipline in the hills above Kaʻanapali. The move prefaced a flurry of zipline construction.
2009 – 2013
Over four years, five new zipline courses were constructed around Maui. One of the biggest leaps in Maui zipline history. Flyin’ Hawaiian Zipline, the longest and fastest course in the state, opened in 2009, followed by Maui Zipline and North Shore Zipline in 2010. Jungle Zipline opened two years later in the rainforests of east Maui. Kapalua Zipline was the latest to open in 2013.
Today, ziplining is one of the most popular visitor activities on Maui. Many of Maui’s ziplines are classified as ‘eco-tours’ and offer insight into Maui’s fragile ecosystem and unique flora and fauna. Some tours also allow visitors to give back by planting trees or native plants during excursions.