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Paintball field makes eco-friendly moves

CLINTONVILLE - One of the area's most well-established paintball fields is stepping up their game when it comes to being eco-friendly.

Tiger Stripe Paintball, located on Route 9N just north of Clintonville, has recently upgraded some of its equipment and supplies to products that are not only greener, but provide a better quality recreational experience to their customers.

Keeseville resident Ken Eckhardt has owned and operated Tiger Stripe since 1996 as one of few facilities in the North Country devoted exclusively to one of the fastest growing sports in America.

The seven fields at their approximately 20-acre property have since attracted hundreds of local residents and visitors alike looking for a realistic outdoor setting to play paintball, a variant of traditional "capture-the-flag" games where players on opposing teams "tag" each other with small, liquid-filled balls propelled from air-powered guns.

"It's really great to have a place where you can play structured games on fields with a lot of character," said Jim Francesconi, a Plattsburgh resident who plays regularly at Tiger Stripe as captain of The Ferrymen, a paintball team that has participated in tournaments across the Northeast, "and this is the cheapest field to play anywhere."

"We like it to be woods so people can get a feel of being in the wilderness," Eckhardt said.

And it's the vitality of that outdoor setting Eckhardt had in mind when deciding to spend a little more to reduce his business's environmental impact.

One of the major steps Tiger Stripe has taken has been to switch to newly developed "Eco-Fill" environmentally-friendly paintballs.

Most paintballs are spherical gelatin capsules filled with a non-toxic, biodegradable combination of glycols, plant-based oils, and dyes. They are virtually harmless to humans and have little impact on the environment, but some have been known to attract animals or leave unsightly stains, and, in large quantities, they can reduce the quality of soil and groundwater, thereby inhibiting plant growth.

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