Are you ready for Miramichi’s most newest and exciting attraction? An experience that not only allows you to take in the beautiful view of our local French fort cove park and river but also a thrilling, adrenaline rushed experience that can be enjoyed over and over again? Then you need to check out the second longest zip-line in New Brunswick, Over The Cove Zip-line. A fast two-line adrenaline filled ride which travels directly above Miramichi’s famous French Fort Cove park. The zip-line is approximately 100 feet above the water and gives a bird eye view of the beauty and stunning environment of French Fort Cove.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet Patrick and Shauna Hiemstra. The Family that runs Over the Cove Zip-line. Shauna’s Father; Milton Steward created and spearheaded Over the Hill Zip-Line.
Shauna H: “We are the owners/operators of Over the Hill Zip-line which is located just outside of Miramichi. We’ve been open for seven years at that location, and the City of Miramichi approached us last year with questions regarding the construction and operation of a Zipline as they looked in to the possibility of creating one within city limits.”
French Fort Cove is a multi season park with walking, hiking and biking trails. Along with a fully operated children’s playground, French Fort Cove also offers it’s visitors a chance to test their courage during the months of July and August by offering a popular event called Dare the Dark with the Headless Nun adventure. during the winter months, French Fort cove also holds annual pond hockey tournaments for the community.
I was surprised to learn that before Over The Cove Zip-line was built. The Hiemstra family ran Over The Hill Zip-Line and it was initially was a hobby for the Hiemstra Family until they were asked by the city of Miramichi to build one for French Fort Cove.
Shauna H: “When we originally built our first zip-line it was just for family use, for the kids to play on. We didn’t realize at the time that it was longer than any other zip-lines in the province. From there, we built a small business on it. We were always thinking bigger and better, and many discussions around the family supper table were had about the amazing zip-line we could have over French Fort Cove, all we needed was the city’s approval.”
Over The Cove Zip-Line was opened on July 27th/, 2017 which an impressive turn out of over 120 people the first day, over 140 people the second day and over a 180 people the third day and each day the numbers get higher!
Over The Cove Zip-Line is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM on weekends and holidays as well as 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM throughout the week. For children the ages of 18 and under or seniors over the age of 55, The price of admission is $15.00 dollars and $20.00 dollars for Adults which is reasonably priced if you were to compare other zip-lines such as Treego Moncton or Zig Zag Canada Zip-lining.
As I followed Patrick H up the winding stairs to the first line, he informed me that the first zip-line is about one thousand and fifty feet long which is over 320 meters and the second zip-line is twelve hundred and fifty feet long which over 380 meters long. As we stood there for a second, I couldn’t help but be memorized by the beautiful view of French Fort Cove Park as the sun danced across the water. It was perfect.
We made our way back down the stairs and headed towards the second ramp to check out the second line. As we were walking, I asked Patrick where the interest for a zip-line came from
Patrick H: “My Father-In-law built a zip-line up river for the grand kids, it started out as something small but then it turned into a business called Over the Hill Zip-line and after running that for about six years, he was approached by the city on how they would build one for french fort cove. so we took some plans to the city and we made this and this is just the beginning!”
Patrick H shared with me that they wish to expand the zip-line by either adding more or doing something entirely different which is very exciting news for Miramichi.
While meeting Patrick H, He shared an amazing video of himself and his 2 and half-year old son trying out over the cove zip-line which lead the question, Is there an age limit?
Patrick H: “We have no age limit! We have harnesses for toddlers, and we have already had many seniors enjoy the ride. As for weight, our max is 275lbs. Single rider minimum weight is 100lbs – any less than that, and the child attaches tandem with an adult.”
Safety is the number one priority for the Over The Cove Zip-Line team! With high safety protocols and constant testing and fine tuning, you can guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience!
Shauna H: “Our safety precautions began with our gear – we use lanyards, harnesses, wheels and helmets – and the majority of those are rated to hold 20 kilonewtons – which is OVER 4000 pounds! We have no concerns about our gear being able to “hold” the weight of someone. The second safety precaution came with staff training. Although most of them are young people, we trained them extensively, always stressing safety. Staff training began weeks before the zip-line opened. A lot of us have been working at the other location, acquiring 7 years of experience, but the new staff has put in many hours, first at the Lyttleton location, and then at this location before opening. We train them with a hands-on approach, after being shown how to, and experiencing the zip-line for themselves, they then learned how to perform at each different function. The newer staff are all eager, bright young men and women, who have all caught on quickly to our safety standards and instructions. They communicate via radios, and no rider gets put on the zip-line without staff verifying that the other end is ready for them. Many of our staff have First Aid certification, as well as the “Working At Heights” certification.”
Weight requirements tend to change due to the weather of each day, when high wind is present it creates a stopping force for riders, pushing against them which is corrected by adding more weight to the rider by riding in pairs. Regardless of what the sign says at the booth. The minimum weight restriction can be altered by the day if need too, in order to ensure maximum safety for riders and the team at Over The Cove Zip-Line would like to apologize for the confusion
Shauna H: “When people don’t meet our minimum, they risk having their momentum stop short of the landing deck. It is fairly minor, and a quick “rescue” for the customer, but it is a lot of extra heavy labor for our employees. When we have a customer who is not able to meet our minimum weight requirement, we simply pair them up – child with parent, siblings or friend groups. If ever there is a rider who doesn’t have a buddy, we have friendly staff who will accompany them! To riders that are just barely above the requirement, we suggest that they run off the platform, to gain that extra boost of speed.”
To make note of as well, The landing can be a little frightening for some people, in that it is an abrupt stop, a snap noise, and a little bit of a jerk – Shauna H made a point to inform their customers that they are trying to get better at explaining that to each person and that it’s all about the experience.
With all safety measures in place, Patrick also informed this writer that the structures are well-engineered. Miramichi’s City engineers worked alongside the design team as well as the construction team and a lot of testing was completed before any human was able to ride across the zip-line for the first time.
Over The Cove Zip-Line is an amazing experience and fun for the whole family, no matter the age, the team at Over The Cove Zip-Line will accommodate any request that is possible in order to ensure a safe, adrenaline thrilled family fun adventure for your family. Feel free to check out Over The Cove Zip-Line and say hello to the friendly staff at French Fort Cove and you can check out their Official Facebook Page here! I would like to thank the Hiemstra family for being so opening and willing to answer my questions! I believe it is safe to say thank you to the Hiemstra Family and everyone involved in Over The Cove Zip-Line for bringing such a great idea and fun-filled adventure to our great city Miramichi!