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New Brunswick's Hopewell Rocks prepares for season opening


Scalers have been rappelling down the Hopewell Rocks site for the past few days, seeing the natural attraction from a new perspective.

“Every winter, as you can imagine, there is a freeze and thaw cycle and it will start to erode the cliffs and we come every spring after that cycle ends and attempt to pry off loose rocks that are ready to go,” explained Jesse Williams, a Woodley and Associates safety crew member.

He says erosion at the provincial park is a “steady constant.”

Scaling the rocks ahead of opening to the public is a safety measure that’s been taking place for nearly four decades.

“Right here today we’re working in a spot that we haven’t worked recently and therefore we’re seeing lots of rocks come down. We also try to focus in on places that are not roped off, places where rocks might bounce off the end of a cliff and head towards people,” said Williams.

In total, it takes two teams of three about four days to check the entire length from Demoiselles Beach to Stairway Cove and beyond.

“This year has been a typical year. There were a couple of rock, three rock falls so far this spring, small ones,” said Paul Gaudet, Hopewell Rocks interpretive services manager. “It’s not an exact science, but we rope off areas that may be troublesome and we don’t allow people to go behind the ropes.”

Gaudet notes the scalers also look for uprooted trees along the cliffs and point out any areas of concern.

The work is supposed to wrap up by Tuesday, but it’s far from the only thing being done ahead of the 2024 season. Gaudet says there have been a number of improvements that visitors will notice this year.

“We have brand new washrooms, we have a brand new entrance with paving stones all the way up to the front, we have a brand new deck that seats 454 people, this year in the restaurant we will be doing full service,” said Gaudet.

He adds there are also changes to the menu, the café will be open down below and, with the environment top of mind, six brand new electric shuttles will be put to use this summer.

”We’ve gone into the electrical age, no more fumes and loud noises and backfiring shuttles anymore. If they work and they have enough power to go up the hills here than that’s definitely what we want to do,” he said.

Gaudet says the park saw around 234,000 visitors in 2023, making it the fourth-busiest year, and he expects that that number will increase, at least marginally, this season.

“The peak year was 2017 when we had 304,000. 2018/19 were right around 300,000, just marginally less and then once COVID hit and it went down to 40,000 in 2020 and it went up just over 100,000 in 2021,” he said.

Ticket prices are the same as last year and are valid for two consecutive days, allowing people to see both the low and high tide and explore everything else the site has to offer.

  • Adult (19 years and older): $15.85
  • Children (5-18 years old): $9.06
  • Family (2 adults & children): $34.45
  • Senior (65+): $13.59
  • Student (with valid ID): $13.59
  • Shuttle ride: $1.74

“I just encourage people to give it a whirl, you’re going to see some new things here this year,” said Gaudet. “The Bay of Fundy, along with the Ungava Bay in Quebec, has the highest tides in the world and it’s really quite an amazing phenomenon.

“Having witnessed it in the vertical and height of the water that comes in here, it’s mind-boggling to me and it’s important, I think, to anyone who’s interested in nature. Anything in the extreme nature genre is important to see.” 

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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