The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) have announced that they will hold four public meetings in September about the management of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile nineteenth-century rail line in the western Adirondacks.
A bitter debate has raged in the Adirondacks over the past several years after rail-trail advocates began pushing to have the historic railroad tracks torn-up. In 2011, an organization calling themselves Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates began calling for the outser of the tourist railroad operation and for conversion of the rail bed to a multi-use trail. More than 10,000 people have signed-on to a petition calling for the removal of the tracks. The trail advocates’ call for a reassessment of the corridor’s management plan has resulted in this round of public hearings.
The state acquired the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor in 1975 from the bankrupt Penn Central Railroad. The rail line was constructed in 1892 and was operated by New York Central Railroad and, later, Penn Central Railroad until freight service ended in 1972. The railroad is now operated as a scenic excursion train by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.
NYSDOT manages the line in keeping with a Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan developed in conjunction with DEC. Approximately 100 miles of the corridor is located within the Adirondack Park. An additional 19 miles is located outside of the Park in the Tug Hill
Information and comments gathered from the public and stakeholder groups is expected to help the commissioners of the two state agencies determine whether to amend the Remsen-Lake Placid Corridor Unit Management Plan. The plan, adopted by DEC and NYSDOT in March 1996, assesses the natural and physical resources along the 100-foot-wide corridor and identifies opportunities for public use. It guides how the corridor is used and managed.
The public meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations:
- Monday, September 9, 6-9 p.m. at the Town of Webb Park Avenue Office Building, 183 Park Avenue in Old Forge
- Tuesday, September 10, 1-4 p.m. at the DEC Region 5 Headquarters, 1115 State Route 86, in Ray Brook
- Monday, September 16, 1-4 p.m. at the State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street, In Utica
- Tuesday, September 17, 6-9 p.m.at the Wild Center, 45 Museum Drive, in Tupper Lake
The sessions will include a presentation by the state agencies and informational stations where the public can give state agency staff their comments and ideas verbally or in writing.
Written comments also may be submitted by Sept. 25 to NYSTravelCorridor@dot.ny.gov, faxed to 518-457-3183, or mailed to Raymond F. Hessinger, Director, Freight & Passenger Rail Bureau, NYS Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, POD 54, Albany, NY 12232.