Pharos-Tribune

Local News

June 14, 2013

Equipped to zip

France Park's new zip line to open soon

Visitors to France Park will soon be able to leap from a nearly 100-foot cliff and travel the span of a 1,400-foot cable over the park’s swimming lake at 30 to 45 miles per hour, the park’s superintendent says.

“It’ll definitely be fun,” said France Park Superintendent Lucas Beach of the park’s new zip line, which is nearing completion by Experiential Systems, a company out of Thornton, Ill. Park staff members are currently undergoing training on the new attraction.

The $19,000 project will open for business sometime next week, Beach went on to say, after park staff has finished training. Visitors weighing between 50 and 300 pounds can pay $8 a ride or $13 to ride all day.

After a quick hike from the beach to the highest cliff overlooking the swimming lake, participants will be fitted with a harness with two pulleys, one for each of the cables that span the 1,400 feet from the cliff to a platform on the edge of the water below.

The pulley hooked into the top cable will hold the braking system, Beach said, bringing zip line riders to a complete and comfortable stop by the time they reach the platform on the ground.

Jamie Hellyer, head of maintenance at the park, took advantage of a perk of the job last week by riding the zip line as the staff began training on its latest attraction.

"It was awesome," he said, adding that it was the first time he's ever experienced a zip line.

"It's kind of intense when you get up on the platform. When you see that cable stretched across the top of that water, your nerves start shaking."

However, the anxiety decreases after that initial, necessary leap, Hellyer continued.

"Once you step off the platform, you realize you're just gliding in the air, it's awesome," he said.

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