Annual Rock Scaling Along Gorge Wall in Ontario

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Niagara Falls, ON – The Niagara Parks Commission will conduct rock scaling operations along the wall of the Niagara Gorge on the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls, from April 10 to April 13, weather permitting.

Niagara Parks undertakes this activity annually to remove loose rocks and debris that have built up over the winter to ensure safe operations and opening of the lower observation deck of Niagara Parks’ Journey Behind the Falls attraction, which is scheduled to open Friday, April 14.

Rock scaling also takes place above the lower roadway access point of the WildPlay MistRider Zipline attraction, as well as at Niagara Parks’ White Water Walk attraction.

During these operations, Niagara Parks staff is lowered in a cage  into the gorge. A large crane operating from the top slowly carries workers across the face of the wall, high over the Falls basin. Wearing helmets and protective gear, workers remove the loose rocks and debris, a process known as ‘ice-jacking’. 

Water captured in the crevasses of the rocks freezes and thaws over long periods of time and creates loose rocks. Rocks are chiseled out and allowed to fall into the gorge creating sloped fortification called talus. This talus is  then removed or left in place depending on where it lands.

Unlike the Niagara Falls State Park which operates at taxpayer expense, The Niagara Parks Commission, an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, self funds itself through fees charged for its various attractions, like the Journey Behind the Falls and the Hornblower Cruises.

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