NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Niagara Parks police say a rockslide closed the Cave of the Winds attraction Saturday, October 20th.
Tom Watt, the Director of Park Operations at Niagara Falls told News 4 that overnight between 5:30 p.m. Friday and 8:00 a.m. (Saturday), a few large rocks came down on the path where patrons travel on to exit the deck to Bridal Veil falls.
This is the first time something like this has happened.
The largest rock reported to have fallen was up to 20" in diameter, but most were a third of that size.
Some rocks were poised above the path still, causing the sudden call to close the attraction.
A contractor is due in on Monday.
Scalers will also be in on Monday to clear the immediate threat. This type of action is typically done and will most likely need to be done again in the Spring of 2013 from anything getting shaken loose from the Winter.
Watt says, "We do routinely bring in scalers, these are people that are professionals and they literally go over the side and break loose anything that could potentially come down. So, that is a precautionary measure that we take to prevent something like this from happening."
He attributes the falling rocks to the dramatic changes in weather we've had, including the recent rains. Since September 1st, we have seen over an inch of rain above average.
"Small rocks breaking free on a regular basis is not too uncommon, but we do have fencing up there to catch things like that. I know a number of years ago efforts were taken to stabilize the fence, and some of that you can see in the Niagara Falls Discovery Center just North of Niagara Falls Proper," says Watt.
Fortunately, this does not seem to be an effect of any erosion and they are not expecting this to be a more common occurrence.
The attraction ended its season just a few days early due to the rockslide. It was planned to close for the season on October 24th.
No one was hurt when the rocks came down and no one was working at the time.
Visitors who bring a Discovery Pass will receive a partial refund for the Cave of the Winds attraction if they come Sunday through Wednesday, the final scheduled day of the season.
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