Review board OKs net park expansion at Experience Outdoors

Entrance to Experience Outdoors on state Route 73 near Lake Placid (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid adventure park Experience Outdoors received approval for a net park expansion from the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board on Wednesday.

Experience Outdoors co-owner Bill Walton said that the Adirondack Park Agency has deemed the expansion application complete. With approval from the review board, the adventure park is free to begin plans for building the expansion. Board member Claire Doering, who is married to Experience Outdoors co-owner Marc Doering, recused herself from the case.

The net park, a two-story playground made of tightly woven nets, will expand the offerings of Experience Outdoors to younger children.

“Our struggle, at this point, is that we don’t have an activity for everyone. Our youngest is 7 that we allow (in the park),” Walton said at the review board’s Feb. 7 meeting. “This is an attraction for people that are young, not specifically, but all can enjoy it. There’s no harnesses needed, there’s two tiers, it’s all enclosed with nets.”

The nets have 1 inch by 1 inch gaps, making them both stable and safe for small feet to walk on. They are also built with two layers, so if one net happened to break, there would be a failsafe. The nets are also strong enough to hold 60 to 80 people and even beanbag chairs, according to co-owner Marc Doering. He said the net park could double as an unconventional event space.

Walton and Doering said on their application to the review board that the net park would create between four and six new jobs at Experience Outdoors. The net park would be supervised by several staffers to ensure visitors’ safety.

Though Experience Outdoors opens seasonally, the nets are weatherproof and safe to leave up year-round. They would be mounted on poles, not trees, to ensure the longevity of the park.

Net parks are an up-and-coming attraction in the adventure park industry. Walton said that this would be the first net park in the state and one of two on the East Coast of the U.S.

Experience Outdoors is working with The Trekking Group, an adventure park design firm, to build the new attraction. In the review board meeting, they cited Upla, a net park chain with locations in Ontario and Quebec, as inspiration. Upla was also designed by The Trekking Group.

The net park would take an estimated 30 days to construct, with construction slated to begin in May.


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