You can’t tightrope-walk across Niagara Falls if only one side says yes. And on Wednesday, local authorities on the Canadian side said no to Nik Wallenda, the seventh-generation funambulist who had sought to be the first man, woman or child to tiptoe above the rushing gorge in more than a century.
The Niagara Parks Commission, which controls the parkland on the Ontario side of the falls, rejected Mr. Wallenda’s proposal to traverse 1,800 feet on a two-inch steel cable, citing concerns about safety and copycats.
“These types of activities are risky and can result in tragic consequences for performers, spectators and emergency personnel,” the commission said in a statement, adding that granting Mr. Wallenda permission could “encourage other individuals to attempt unsanctioned acts.”
Mr. Wallenda, 32, said he found the news “a little bit disheartening” but said he would appeal to Canada’s national tourism officials.
New York State and the authorities in Niagara Falls, N.Y. — a considerably more rundown municipality than its Canadian counterpart that could use the publicity the crossing could bring — had thrown their support behind Mr. Wallenda’s bid. In September, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approved legislation to give Mr. Wallenda a permit.
But the Canadian authorities have been frowning upon “stunting” at the falls since at least 1885, when the parks commission was formed to correct the “increasingly carnival atmosphere” cheapening the cataract’s natural majesty.
Mr. Wallenda had engaged in months of tightrope diplomacy. In August, he presented his case to the parks commission, which asked him to submit a proposal to see if his plan met “the best interests of the park.”
Last month he appeared before the commission again, noted a consultant’s report that the event would draw at least 60,000 spectators and bring in up to $20 million, and told the panel, “To deny that seems a little bit arrogant and foolish.” The commission’s chairwoman, foreshadowing Wednesday’s decision, said at the time, “Over many years, it has been the mission of the commission that stunting is not the means to create long-term economic investment.”
The last tightrope walker to cross the falls was James Hardy of Toronto in 1896, according to the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, the tourism agency on the American side.
Mr. Wallenda said from his home in Florida that he was used to getting turned down the first time around.
“I broke six world records last year and every one of those venues initially said no,” he said. He noted that he had support of the mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario and a member of Ontario’s provincial parliament and said he planned to press his case to Ontario’s tourism minister, Michael Chan.
“Hopefully, he’ll see something in the proposal that the parks didn’t,” Mr. Wallenda said. “Just because I hear a ‘no’ doesn’t mean I’ll pack my bags and go home.”
An earlier version of this post misstated the tourism official to whom Mr. Wallenda plans to appeal. It is Ontario’s tourism minister, Michael Chan, not Canada’s national tourism minister, Maxime Bernier.