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Lake Placid zip line moving down the road

May 26, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The Experience Outdoors zip line and adventure course, which debuted late last summer at Cascade Cross-Country Ski Center, may move to its own location down the road, southeast of Craig Wood Golf Course.

The company's founder, Bill Walton, has applied to the North Elba-Lake Placid Joint Review Board to create a 71.6-acre outdoor recreational use area by subdividing a 77.8-acre parcel of property at 4944 Cascade Road (state Route 73) owned by Charles Marshall.

Walton submitted the Experience Outdoors application to the board last month and appeared at its May 17 meeting.

Article Photos

Experience Outdoors founder Bill Walton speaks to the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board on May 17.
(News photo — Antonio Olivero)

The primary questions the board had for Walton were specific to the cutting of trees to make way for an access road, parking lot and base structures. Walton proposes to create a driveway entrance off of Route 73 and clear an area for 30 cars and a couple of buses. Walton told the planning board the first 25 feet of driveway would need to be paved while the rest would be comprised of permeable crushed stone.

There would also be two new non-permanent, color-blended structures constructed: a welcome center and a barn house for tools and equipment. Walton said there will be a 25-foot buffer of vegetation from the property line to the newly cleared areas to reduce the impact of noise and to prevent the new structures from being viewable from the road and neighboring properties.

In its application, Experience Outdoors plans to only clear and limb enough wooded space for its zip line and other course elements. Walton said the zip line would be a maximum of 25 feet and 6 feet wide, and entirely covered by the surrounding canopy of trees. He added that any brush from trees cleared to create the parking area would be either chipped to use on the trails beneath the adventure course or would be used for elements on the course.

The company said all of its elements and zip line structures are non-permanent and are designed to have minimal impact on the trees and surrounding environment.

The state Adirondack Park Agency is currently reviewing Experience Outdoors' application.

Joint Review Board member Christine Varden spoke highly of Experience Outdoors' setup at Cascade to the rest of the board at its May 17 meeting.

"You could barely even tell that they were in the woods, so much was left untouched," she said. "The only thing they did do, which was gorgeous, was they exposed boulders and made them safe to climb on.

"You can barely even tell when you walked the trails," she said. "You had to look up to even see where the stuff was. It's a pretty natural environment."

Walton said the zip line would involve 500 feet of elevation change and would run through a corridor on the property where there is an easement for an existing telephone wire.

The company is working with two foresters, Len Cronin and Kirklyn Denis, to enact what they call a "100-year sustainable land management plan." In its application to the planning board, Experience Outdoors said it will also manage the forest for desired wildlife species, to promote timber growth and to harvest ginseng and lavender.

Walton told the board that the adventure course's trails would "piggyback" on several old logging trails that still exist on the property.

For restrooms, the company plans to use Boyer Septic to provide porta-johns for the adventure course's first year.

Once open, Experience Outdoors plans to operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday with three full-time staff members and five part-time employees. Based on last year's business, it expects 30 people per day on summer weekends.

At Cascade, the course's structure was non-permanent and didn't include implanting hardware such as through-bolts into trees. The company put on two-to-three-hour guided zip-line canopy tours featuring nine lines, three suspension bridges and a 30-foot rappel for $80. Participants were provided full-body harnesses, helmets and gloves.



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