Zip-line

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Zip line crossing of the Giri river, Himachal Pradesh, India

A zip-line (also called a zip line, zip wire, aerial runway, aerial ropeslide, death slide or Tyrolean crossing) is a device that allows a person to slide down an inclined wire or rope.[1] The process uses gravity to propel the user. You can be stopped by dragging your feet or by water.[2] Often a pulley is used suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel. Zip-lines are often used for entertainment. Some are short and low designed for children on a playground. Zip-lines are often used as a means of getting to remote areas, such as a rainforest canopy or crossing a river.

History[change | change source]

The zip-wire has been used as a way to get around in some mountainous countries for over 2,000 years.[3] Since the 1700s they have been used in places like Europe, China and the Himalayas.[4] In the Australian outback, zip-lines were occasionally used for delivering food, cigarettes or tools.[4] They were useful for people working on the other side of an obstacle such as a gully or river. Australian soldiers have used them to bring ammunition to forward positions during wars.[4]

During World War II the United States discovered they were behind the Russians and the Germans in using parachutes to deploy soldiers quickly.[5] In setting up training the army decided to use drop towers with zip lines to simulate a parachute landing.[5] It was a success and has been used since that time to train airborne forces.[5]

Costa Rica claims to be the birthplace of modern zip-line tours.[6] Graduate students, John Williams and Donald Perry were rock-climbers who were in Costa Rica studying botanical (plants) and entomological (insects) subjects.[6] They used their rock climbing equipment to climb trees. When they used lines to get down or move to lower trees, other students did too. Soon tours started in Costa Rica for entertainment.[6]

Zip-lining in Costa Rica

Zip-line tours[change | change source]

Zip-line tours are becoming popular vacation activities. Some are as short as 100 feet while others may be as long as a mile.[7] The jungles of Costa Rica, Florida, Puerto Vallarta,and Nicaragua are popular places for those interested in experiencing zip-lines.[7] Since 2000, the number of zip-line tours in the United States has grown to over 200.[8] Zip-line tours are not available at places such as Santa Catalina Island, Big Bear and the San Diego Zoo in California.[8] Prices vary for the ride. The San Diego Zoo ride costs $112 (for two lines). At the Santa Paula, California KOA the cost is $10 for an 800 foot long zip-line.[8] At Durango Colorado there are 27 zip lines totaling 1.5 miles (2.4 km).[9] The tour lasts for five hours.[9]

In Sun City, South Africa the Zip 2000 is one of the world's longest zip lines at over 1 mile (1.6 km) in length.[10] The world's longest zip-line tour is "Miss Sky Canopy Tour" in Nosara, Costa Rica. It runs for 7 miles (11 km) and is made up of 21 runs.[10] Taihape, New Zealand has one of the fastest zip-lines (called flying foxes locally) with speeds at over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).[10]

References[change | change source]

  1. Who Really Benefits From Tourism? (Equations, 2009-2010), pp. 37–38
  2. Jacques Marais; Lisa De Speville, Adventure Racing, (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2004), p. 66 ISBN 0736059113
  3. Kris De Decker; et al. "Aerial ropeways: automatic cargo transport for a bargain". Low-tech Magazine. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "THE HISTORY OF THE ZIP LINE". canopytours-vallarta.com. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Airborne History" (PDF). US Army, Ft. Benning, GA. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Raechel Donahue, Demand Media. "Costa Rica Zip Line Tours". USA Today. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Alexander Davies (20 September 2011). "10 Amazing Zipline Tours All Around the World". Discovery.com. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Hugo Martín (26 May 2012). "Zip lines spread across the U.S. as the rides soar in popularity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Carri Wilbanks (8 July 2015). "High-flying adventure: Zip lines around the USA". USA Today Travel. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Ashley M. Biggers (11 March 2014). "Where Are the Best Places in the World to Go Zip-Lining?". Outside. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 

Other websites[change | change source]