APA to consider Macchio’s zip line

RAY BROOK – State Adirondack Park Agency commissioners will consider approving a zip line proposed by the father of “Karate Kid” actor Ralph Macchio at its meeting this week.

APA staff have recommended approval of Ralph Macchio Sr.’s proposed Bear Pond Ranch Zip-Flyer in Lake George, although the agency has raised significant concerns about the project’s visibility.

“Staff believe the project would produce adverse impacts to open space and aesthetic resources of the Park, but do not believe the impacts … should be considered undue,” agency Deputy Director Rick Weber wrote in a March 5 memo to agency Executive Director Terry Martino.

The roughly 3,500-foot-long zip line ride would run from near the summit of French Mountain in the town of Queensbury to Macchio’s Wild West Ranch in the town of Lake George. It would include construction of a launch platform, a pair of 34-foot towers, a landing area and four cables connecting the towers. It also involves clearing a 35-to-50-foot wide, 900-foot long swath of trees at the top of the mountain to provide enough clearance for people riding the zip line.

Riders will be taken to the launch via an existing gravel road. From the launch platform, up to four riders would travel simultaneously on parallel zip lines at speeds up to 50 mph. Each ride will last about one minute.

In the memo, Weber wrote that the project will be “visible from many locations at distances varying from 1/2 mile to nearly 5 miles” and that it “appears to create adverse impacts to open space and aesthetic resources.” However, staff said the adverse visual impacts would in part be mitigated by design and vegetation management proposals that “will soften the project’s contrast with the natural setting.”

The project is set to come before the agency’s Regulatory Programs Committee at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Among other items on the board’s agenda this week, village of Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall will deliver a community spotlight presentation at 1 p.m. Thursday. Randall will highlight the village’s Olympic heritage and the community’s accomplishments, assets and challenges, according to an agency press release.

At 3:30 p.m. the Economic Affairs Committee will be briefed on the Homeward Bound Adirondacks program, based in Saranac Lake. The Rev. Col. Eric Olsen, recently named the organization’s director, will overview Homeward Bound’s programs for returning veterans.

On Friday at 9 a.m., the Legal Affairs Committee will consider a request from agency staff to initiate a formal rulemaking regarding emergency authorization regulations. Since 2011, there have been numerous state declared emergency weather events, including the spring 2011 flood, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Sandy. The agency does not have a regulatory definition to establish when land-use and development is an “emergency project.” The proposed rule would fill this gap, the release states.

A full agenda for the two-day meeting, along with meeting materials, is posted at The meeting will also be webcast live on the agency’s website.