APA approves state plan to redevelop Frontier Town

The abandoned buildings at the former Frontier Town are seen in January 2017. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

RAY BROOK — At its first meeting of the new year, the state Adirondack Park Agency board unanimously approved a state plan for a former theme park, as well as agreeing to send out an invasive species plan for public comment.

The Frontier Town plan, submitted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the town of North Hudson — Essex County owns the former theme park — calls for the development of a public campground and day use and equestrian areas.

DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann recused himself from the final vote and left the room before the full board took up the matter.

“The development includes … 91 camping sites (13 RV, 33 equestrian and 45 tent), on-site water supply, on-site wastewater treatment and stormwater facilities,” the applications says. “All electric power distribution will be underground. As proposed, the operating season for the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area will be from mid-May through mid-October, with the trailhead parking lot open year-round.”

The land consists of a mix of rural use and moderate intensity classifications, and in addition to the campsites, the plan calls for dozens of buildings to be constructed, including a caretaker’s cabin, horse stalls, bathrooms, pavilions and water, garbage and recycling facilities.

A year-round day-use area will be located off Frontier Town Road near U.S. Route 9 with parking for 26 vehicles, including 18 parking spaces for vehicles with snowmobile trailers. A seasonal day-use area with 34 parking spaces will be on the shoreline of the Schroon River. The project is projected to cost $13 million and is expected to create 20 full time jobs during construction. The DEC has also said it would employ two full time, year-round employees as well as 11 seasonal workers once the facility opens.

One topic that wasn’t addressed during normal board business was the classification of state land, a set of decisions that has languished for more than a year. The APA has before it a classification package that is likely the largest it has ever faced. However, despite including the hotly debated Boreas Ponds Tract, the board has not made any moves on classifying the lands.

Board member Chad Dawson asked that the board spend a meeting or two discussing the proposed classifications, which include parcels of land as small as a quarter of an acre and up to tens of thousands of acres.

Board member Karen Feldman also asked the board to vote on approving a set of guidelines on implementing best management practices for controlling invasive species, which passed unanimously.

The State Land Committee also received informational presentations on plans for Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski areas.

The agency’s next meeting will be Thursday and Friday, Feb. 8 and 9.