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The tremendous volume of water never stops flowing, However, the falling water and mist create ice formations along the banks of the falls and river. This can result in mounds of ice as thick as fifty feet. If the winter is cold for long enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form what is known as the "ice bridge". This ice bridge can extend for several miles down river until it reaches the area known as the lower rapids.
Until 1912,visitors were allowed to actually walk out on the ice bridge and view the Falls from below. February 24th of 1888 the local newspaper reported that at least 20,000 people watched or tobogganed on the ice. Shanties selling liquor, photographs and curiosities abounded. On February 4th 1912 the ice bridge broke up and three tourists lives were lost.
There can also be a great deal of "mini-icebergs" which flow down the Niagara River from frozen Lake Erie. The flow of ice has been reduced considerably by the yearly installation of the "ice-boom" on Lake Erie. The ice-boom is a long floating chain (2miles- 3.2 KM) of steel floats strung across the Niagara River from Buffalo New York to Fort Erie Ontario. It is set in place during the month of December and removed during the month of March or April. It is maintained by the New York State Power Authority. The ice boom helps prevent the ice from clogging the river and most importantly the hydroelectric companies water intakes.