Zip Line History

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Zip Line History

The zip-wire is not as recent an invention as people often believe. In 1729, Robert Cadman, a steeplejack and ropeslider, died when his rope snapped as he was descending from Shrewsbury’s St Mary’s Church. In 1897, a zip line is referred to in THE INVISIBLE MAN by H.G. Wells as “an inclined strong” as part of a Whit-Monday fair.

Worldwide, Costa Rica is known for their jungle canopy tours. In this, a vacationer can zip thrugh the rainforest as the zip-lines are scattered among several platforms, some as high as 130 feet. In North America, the highest and longest zip-line canopy tour is located at the New York Zipline Adventures at Hunter Mountain in Hunter, NY. The tour consists of over 4.6 miles of dual racing zip-line cables with the first being 3,200 feet long and reaching heights of over 600 feet. Another quite impressive canopy tour is the Berkshire East Ski Resort in Western Massachusetts. There are 4 miles of zipping which can accommodate every level of rider. Their Valley Jump tour consists of 6 separate zip lines with two being 2300’ and 2600’ long. It also contains a 187’ high zip line which crosses a valley, a brook, and a town road.

For recreationally smaller purposes, there are several varieties. The children’s recreation center Jungle Quest offers commercial applications indoors for children. Some cruise lines also have zip lines going over the main “boardwalk” areas of the ships for a shorter zip line experience. It’s a way to get a truly birds-eye, or rather sea-gull’s eye view of life aboard ship.

In forgotten days in the Australian in the Australian outback, flying foxes were sometimes used for delivering food, cigarettes,and tools to people working on the other side of a natural obstacle such as a gully or river. Australian troops were known to use them to deliver mail, food, and even ammunition to forward positions in several skirmishes.

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