Monday, November 10, 2014

Rails With Trails: Win-Win Or Apples and Oranges?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJack Drury says the Trails with Rails Action Committee (TRAC) has a win-win solution to the controversy over the future of the rail corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid: keep the tracks and build a network of bike trails that run alongside or in the vicinity of the tracks.

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) also envisions a bike trail between Tupper and Placid, but its plan calls for removing the tracks.

The bike trails proposed by TRAC and ARTA are fundamentally different. To many observers, it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison.

ARTA seeks a trail surfaced with hard-packed crushed stone and/or stone dust that would be suitable for most road bikes (excepting, perhaps, racing bikes with thin tires). As a matter of fact, the state has not ruled out paving all or part of the trail.

TRAC’s proposal calls for building spur trails in the adjacent Forest Preserve where building a trail beside the tracks is impossible, such as where the rail corridor passes through wetlands or over water. Since it’s illegal to build road-bike trails in the Preserve, the spur trails would be similar to hiking trails.

In short, the TRAC network would be usable by mountain bikes but not by road bikes.

Experienced mountain bikers probably would have little interest in riding along a rail corridor with occasional detours into the woods, but Drury contends that TRAC’s network would appeal to casual riders and families.

“We’re not talking about hard-core, single-track mountain bikers,” Drury told Adirondack Almanack last week after a public meeting on the future of the rail corridor.

The spur trails would be about six feet wide and designed for easy riding. Under TRAC’s plan, a trail would be built beside the tracks between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. Between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, however, the bike route would leave the rail corridor in a number of places. Click here to see TRAC’s map of the route.

“If it’s done right, it will be family friendly, but family friendly on a mountain bike, not a road bike,” said Drury, who helped research and map the routes.

Drury contends that a long-distance mountain-bike route is appropriate for the Adirondack Park, whose appeal lies in its wildness.

“That’s something we can market and sell as unique to us rather than the traditional rail trail,” he said.

At the same time, Drury said, road bikers would be able to ride parts of the corridor.

But Tony Goodwin, a member of ARTA’s board, said the Adirondack Park already has plenty of trails suitable for mountain biking. “What we’re looking for is something that’s totally different from all other Adirondack trails,” he told the Almanack.

Whether you like TRAC’s idea or not, it faces several obstacles.

First, it’s a different kind of trail from what has been proposed by ARTA and what is contemplated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation.

DEC and DOT have suggested replacing the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid with a universally accessible trail–usable not only by road bikes, but also by wheelchairs, baby strollers, and snowmobiles.

Jim McCulley, president of the Lake Placid Snowmobile Club, said the type of snowmobiling experience the  corridor offers–riding on a wide, smooth, and groomed trail–would not be possible on the spur trails. Presumably, the dirt spur trails also would not be usable by wheelchairs and baby strollers.

Another issue is cost. The state estimates that refurbishing the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid would cost $6.7 million. To date, there are no estimates for what it would cost to build a a network of side-by-side and spur trails. In places, TRAC is proposing to build the side-by-side trails on berms or cantilevers.

The state has estimated that removing the tracks and building a road-bike trail would cost $9.8 million. ARTA contends this figure is high. In any case, ARTA contends that refurbishing the tracks and building trails in addition would be far more expensive.

“Why would we build something extra? It’s just crazy,” McCulley said.

Finally, TRAC’s proposal assumes that a side-by-side trail will be built between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake even though the town of North Elba tried unsucessfully for years to get such a trail constructed. Although the Adirondack Park Agency approved the trail, the town abandoned the project as  too costly–owing in part to wetland regulations.

Given these problems, Goodwin regards TRAC’s proposal as a non-starter.

But Rob Davies, head of DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests, said the state will look at all ideas–including TRAC’s–before making a decision on the best use of the rail corridor.

Over the past two weeks, DEC and DOT sought input at four public meetings on the state’s proposal to remove the tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and refurbish the tracks south of  Tupper Lake to Big Moose  The agencies plan to review the public comments, do more analysis, and come out with a final proposal next year.

Under the state’s plan, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad would be forced to abandon a tourist train that runs between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. However, it could continue to run a tourist train out of Old Forge and would have the opportunity to expand service as far north as Tupper Lake.

The railroad wants the state to refurbish the entire line between Big Moose and Lake Placid. Sunita Halasz, a member of TRAC, contends that removing the tracks is short-sighted and in the long run could hurt the Adirondacks economically. “The railroad is literally the backbone of our Park,” she said. “To pull out a backbone causes anyone to collapse.”

ARTA contends that the Park would benefit more from a recreational trail. It wants the state to remove all of the tracks from Big Moose and Placid. This plan would not affect the tourist train in Old Forge.

NOTE: Dick Beamish, the founder of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, where I work, is one of the founders of Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates.  However, he had no hand in the reporting of this article.  Adirondack Explorer is the parent organization of Adirondack Almanack.

Photo by Phil Brown: Galen and Oliver Salasz show their support for the railroad at a meeting in Lake Placid last week.

 


Phil Brown

Since 1999, Phil Brown has been Editor of the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.




33 Responses

  1. e says:

    I have no personal position on this hot-button issue one way or the other–I wish to make that clear up front. But something bothers me about this article and other Almanack reporting on this issue. The Almanack’s parent organization, the Adirondack Explorer, was co-founded by Dick Beamish, who’s also a board member at ARTA. Boy that’s a (potential) conflict of interest readers need to be made aware of. I’m not saying the reporting’s biased–just that readers need to be made aware of the potential bias.

    I admire the Almanack/Explorer immensely and think you guys do enormous good in the park. But it is poor journalism not to mention this connection EVERY TIME you report on this issue. It wouldn’t be hard to do, just something like “Dick Beamish, the co-founder of the Almanack’s parent organization, Adirondack Explorer, is a founder and board member of ARTA. Mr. Beamish played no role in the researching or reporting of this article.”

  2. Steve says:

    If an abandoned railroad is the backbone of our park, does that mean we have a quadrapeligic park? But, can a park literally have a backbone? I’ve heard that the the Adirondacks is a “living park”, but apparently it literally a vertebrae.

    PS – making your kids bring signs to support your cause is classless. Just sayin’….

  3. Heavy says:

    I gotta ask… The target user group of the trail is bikers…

    And TRAC thinks their plan is feasible when you take that limited group, and then carve of mountain bikers and road bikers? Great Plan.

    And “The railroad is literally the backbone of our park” may be the most ridiculous statement that has been thrown out there in this whole debate. Why not claim that the railroad is the lifeblood of the US economy?

    More snowmobilers come to inlet and old forge in one weekend than this train would get in a years (probably decades).

    (And i agree with Steve, using your children as PR tools is pretty low… and before you say “My kids love the train”.. yeah, maybe so… but it was the parents idea to make them hold signs up… and take your kid on one snowmobile trip as a family and your boys will be out there the follow summer helping pull up the track).

  4. Bob Hest says:

    The antipathy of ARTA spokespeople regarding the RR causes much wonder. The singular fixation about road bike capability limits the imagination about what might be possible.
    TRAC volunteers have been galvanized by the limited vision presented in ARTA remarks and presentations. The work done to identify and engineer where a continuous trail within and alongside the travel corridor could coexist with the rail system provides an assist to both DEC and DOT personnel.
    The trail system alongside the corridor uses existing DEC trails; some of these will require work to make them usable by mountain bikers and cross country skiers. They will add a variety of experience that many believe will be more interesting for all and safer for skiers in winter.
    The trail surfaces outside the corridor will be governed by DEC trail practices. Within the corridor, the surface as now envisioned would also be the hard pack type.
    Here are compelling reasons to retain and upgrade the rail system along the entire corridor AND invest in an enhanced trail system that joins communities along the corridor: (1) Changing demographics,(2) changes in transportation choices by millions of citizens, (3) continuing to provide access to our region by visitors and residents who may not be inclined to or able to practice extreme sports, and (4) preserving and enhancing economic and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.

    • Earl says:

      Bob Hest: its not a fixation on road bikes. It would be a trail for hybrid bikes, mountain bikes, kids bikes and bike trailers for kids. Rail advocates keep saying that rail trails aren’t interesting. Tell that to themillions who prefer to bike on rail trails. You think mountain bikers will like to ride back and forth between exciting terrain and flat straight surface? Will a family want to takes kids off the safe path and into scary terrain? Am I supposed to switch bikes repetedly as I ride from tupper to saranac lake? Is it a trail for mountain bikes only? Will mountain bikers ride 40 miles one way?

      Is this trail the type and size that has been successful anywhere else?

      TRAC is only interested in preserving rails. The rail with trail idea is a distraction and won’t stand up to criticism. When Jack Drury initially posted maps of the route on his website, the comments below his blog post started pointing out serious flaws in it and Jack couldn’t or wouldn’t respond to even though he did respond to soft ball comments.
      He put out this “win-win” proposal for this important public policy debate, but the proposal can’t stand up to even a little scrutiny.

      Now TRAC says they have detailed engineered drawings, but they won’t share them with the pubic. Just like ASR wants to keep their business plan secret. See a trend? If TRACs idea was realistic, why are they not available to the public. Why haven’t you shared them with DEC/DOT? What are you waiting for? Are you waiting until the last minute so the public cant scrutinize them?

  5. Richard says:

    I am not emotionally invested in this issue, one way or the other. However, I continue to be perplexed by the “either or nature” of this discussion, mostly on the part of the ARTA. Why wouldn’t we want as many recreational options in the corridor as possible? I suspect that I just don’t “get” what the thinking behind the verbalizations really is–kind of like, what is the REAL issue here?

    • Pete Nelson Pete Nelson says:

      Which group is the either-or group? You’re right, I admit it: it’s ARTA.

      On the Adirondack Rail Trail you can either bike or walk. You can either bike with a road bike or a mountain bike. Or you can pull kids in a wagon if you like. You can either go by yourself or bring Grandma and her wheelchair. You can carry the baby on your back or, if you prefer, in a good old stroller. And in winter when there are a scant few inches of snow on the ground you can either stay in and lament the inability to make a proper snowman or you can get out there and ride your sled from Tupper to Placid and have a fabulous lunch at Liquid and Solids or Lisa G’s. Or some new spot that opened because of the increased traffic.

      I fail to see what the constant accusations of hidden agendas could possibly be about. That’s as clear an agenda as one finds on issues in the Adirondacks!

      The fact is that a side-by side trail is not feasible. There’s no question of that. The TRAC proposal is what it is, but it is not the same thing. And it’s fraught with challenges. Sure we should look at it; why not? But there’s no chance it will carry the day.

  6. Smitty says:

    You have to give TRAC credit for trying. But realistically, their alternative will likely please no one. Rail trail bikers are there because they enjoy the level grade and easy pedaling on a rail trail. Most have hybrid bikes. Few have mountain bikes. As someone who does both, the trail would work for me, but few others. Also, rail trail bikers like to destination bike. Saranac to Tupper would be a great ride. Start at Saranac. Ride to Tupper for lunch. And then return. But the proposed alternate trail would be so much longer and difficult it would never work.

  7. Bob says:

    The antipathy of ARTA spokespeople regarding the RR causes much wonder. The singular fixation about road bike capability limits the imagination about what might be possible.
    TRAC volunteers have been galvanized by the limited vision presented in ARTA remarks and presentations. The work done to identify and engineer where a continuous trail within and alongside the travel corridor could coexist with the rail system provides an assist to both DEC and DOT personnel.
    The trail system alongside the corridor uses existing DEC trails; some of these will require work to make them usable by mountain bikers and cross country skiers. They will add a variety of experience that many believe will be more interesting for all and safer for skiers in winter.
    The trail surfaces outside the corridor will be governed by DEC trail practices. Within the corridor, the surface as now envisioned would also be the hard pack type.
    Here are compelling reasons to retain and upgrade the rail system along the entire corridor AND invest in an enhanced trail system that joins communities along the corridor: (1) Changing demographics,(2) changes in transportation choices by millions of citizens, (3) continuing to provide access to our region by visitors and residents who may not be inclined to or able to practice extreme sports, and (4) preserving and enhancing economic and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.

  8. Hope says:

    Richard, ARTA has always promoted a flat wide recreation Trail that would be used by all kinds of people of varying athletic and physical abilities on foot, bike or snowmobile in the winter. NYS agrees that a side by side Rail and Trail is not feasible on this corridor. TRAC is promoting a totally different type of venue which doesn’t offer the same type of trail.
    It’s not wide, flat or easy. It requires a mountain bike to participate and has significant elevation changes. Snowmobiles cannot be accommodated on it. It leaves the trail and uses paved roads traveled by motor vehicles in sections. They are not the same.
    There is no demand for train service. The communities have spoken via their elected officials that they prefer the trail option. Why is it that NYS should ignore what the communities have asked for. DEC says that there is more demand for more accessible trails not for more rough, difficult trails. This rail trail will accommodate that demand and provide a venue for the average person. There are plenty of difficult and remote trails within the Adirondacks.

  9. James Falcsik says:

    The Remsen-Lake Placid railroad corridor is not abandoned, in spite of your sarcasm.

    In regard to the proposals by TRAC, why not consider the legitimately abandoned former D&H Chateaugay Branch that ran from Saranac Lake to Plattsburg? Russ Nelson did a photo essay on this line years ago:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/russnelson/sets/72157622747398981/

    I have read where some of this ROW is now used by ATV’s and hikers. There is a photo of this ROW north of SL by Kevin Lenhart in Adirondack Life Magazine, as noted by Allen Roberts who poses the same argument:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204625795435122&set=o.35835206995&type=1

    Surely not as easy to acquire the right-of-way of a line pulled up years ago, but this is how many legitimate rail-trails are commissioned. This was a 50 mile line, and portions on the north end might still have the rail extant shown in the photos.

    If ARTA believes in their free scrapping plan, take this rail and use the proceeds to develop several miles of trail north out of SL.

  10. Tom says:

    Of course leave the tracks in place! Current demand notwithstanding, the future will very likely see train travel as the appropriate way to move people and freight – again. Fuel may be inexpensive today (relatively speaking) but it won’t last.
    Rails AND trails just make so much sense for so many reasons, including the immediate cost of developing the trail option.

  11. Nancy says:

    It seems pretty obvious to me that the cost to benefit ratio of the TRAC proposal makes it unfavorable. That means the options are to keep the railroad or go with the ARTA proposal. Will the ARTA plan potentially serve more people? Most likely. But, in a way, it’s like tearing down a museum to build an amusement park. Which will create more jobs and attract more visitors, a museum or an amusement park? (The amusement park, obviously.) Does that mean we should tear down the museum and build an amusement park? What intrinsic value does a museum have? A hundred years from now, which will be of more value to us, a piece of our history or a paved pathway where cyclists navigate around wheelchairs and strollers? I honestly don’t know the answer to that one. But once the train is gone, it’s gone for good.

  12. Bruce says:

    Heavy asserts that “More snowmobilers come to inlet and old forge in one weekend than this train would get in a years (probably decades)”.

    I would like to see his figures supporting that assertion.

    According to the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, annual ridership is approximately 50,000.

    http://www.adirondackrr.com/economicImpact.pdf

    And that is as the RR exists now, not with the added incentive of being able to travel by train to Tupper Lake, or even Lake Placid, which will undoubtedly attract greater ridership.

    According to the NYS Parks Dept., there were 115,982 snowmobiles registered for the 2013/2014 season.

    http://parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles/documents/SnowmobileSeasonReport.pdf

    That would mean if Heavy is correct, almost half the snowmobiles in the entire state would be in the Fulton Chain on any given weekend. I don’t believe Old Forge/Inlet can support that many people on a winter weekend.

    The ADKRR doesn’t seem to have plans for using the corridor during heavy snow buildup, so it’s available to snowmobilers, and they already use it.

    • David Lubic says:

      Bruce, the economic impact others have mentioned is from an economic impact study released in 2012 with information from the 2010-2011 season (which would have been the latest available data at the time). That study estimated the economic impact of snowmobiles to be $868 million per year, and about 23% of that was spent in the Adirondacks, which works out quite close to $200 million.

      http://www.nysnowmobiler.com/news/303-economic-impact-of-snowmobiling

      http://www.nysnowmobiler.com/images/pdf/2012/NYSSA-Economic-Study-Executive-Summary-And-Discussion-9-13-12.pdf

      Based on the survey’s estimates that snowmobilers spent directly an average of $3,561.00, plus an additional $3,200 in indirect spending, that would work out to 29,555 snowmobilers per year in the Adirondacks. But that was for 2010-2011, and registrations have declined about 13% since then. That means your impact in the Adirondacks is likely down to about $174 million, and your snowmobilers are down to 25,712.

      http://parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles/documents/SnowmobileSeasonReport.pdf

      The important thing to consider is the trend. Snowmobile registrations have declined about 33% in the last 10 years; it’s not an activity that’s growing. It’s not something that will grow with a new trail. At best, you will cannibalize snowmobile ridership elsewhere in New York. At worst, you will spend money to lose a railroad for nothing, and will in turn chase away whatever traffic the railroad does bring.

      And who thinks we will be able to drive as we do in the future? I remember gasoline at 35 cents per gallon. How many younger people reading that here think that must have been a dream time?

      • Bruce says:

        David, thank you for the numbers, and point taken about gas at $.35 a gallon. That’s about what it was during my snowmobile and road rally days in Oswego County. Yes, we thought gas was high then. On weekend trips to Canada, we actually thought we were getting a good deal because the Imperial gallon was larger, but in retrospect, it probably worked out close to the same.

      • Bruce says:

        David, thank you for the numbers. More than I figured, but less than some have mentioned.

        Point taken about the $.35 gas. That’s about what it was during my snowmobile and road rally days in Oswego County.

      • Hope says:

        Fact: Town of Webb (Old Forge) provides the county (Herkimer ) with the highest sales tax revenues from winter activities (snowmobiling) than any other time of the year. Train traffic does squat in comparison. Tickets are bought in Utica. A few trinkets are bought in shops and some lunches might be bought if the train stops and you get off. I think that the communities north of Old Forge would be more interested in the revenue of snowmobiler’s than not, regardless of any study. When there is snow and a great place to ride then registrations and permit sales are up. No place to ride, why bother?

        • Paul says:

          “No place to ride”? There are plenty of places to ride.

        • Bruce says:

          Hope, The trains don’t run when the tracks have sufficient snow on them, and snowmobiles already use the corridor north when trains aren’t running. Gee, I just consulted my 2014 snowmobile trail map; if there’s no place to ride, who uses all those trails?

          High quality train excursions on the order of the GSMRR, or the Durango and Silverton will draw many more riders during the off season when there’s no snow, even when the weather is crappy. There’s no question the riders will be there in July and August with better trains.

          We deliberately come to the Adirondacks just before or just after the crush, because things are very quiet except on good weekends.

  13. Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

    To first of all to respond to Nancy’s comment, we aren’t rearing down a museum. We’re repurposing a currently obsolete mode of transportation to something that many will actually use on a regular basis. Other rail to trail conversions have done a wonderful job in providing interpretive displays that celebrate the history that built the railroad and how it served its communities during its useful lifetime. Furthermore, trail use preserves the right-of-way in the event that future conditions again favor rail use.

    Secondly, the snowmobile figures for “Inlet on a weekend” are certainly exaggerated, but overall snowmobile figures clearly outstrip any economic benefit derived from rail operations.

    Third, the engineering drawings in the TRAC proposal show that it would clearly be very costly where it was in the Corridor, and outside of the Corridor their proposal only creates another rough, sometimes steep, Adirondack trail.

  14. Bruce says:

    Tony, I would like to see your “overall snowmobile figures.” I’ll be honest, you’re probably right if you only consider the current level of train service.

    However, if the line were upgraded to Tupper Lake, or even Lake Placid, riders will increase, because it’s the longer, more interesting rail excursions which draw real ridership.

    If the special trains which run between Utica and Thendara are any example, they are sometimes completely booked well before the scheduled run.

    Our own Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMRR) offers many different classes of trains, from afternoon excursions for leaf watchers, special kid’s trains, to full service dinner and entertainment trains. The fact they are often booked way ahead shows their popularity. The main station is at Bryson City, NC which becomes jam-packed with train riders two to 3 hours before train time; at least some of whom travel 2 or more hours to get there, and is fully on a par with Old Forge as far as size and summer visitation goes. The line from Thendara to Tupper Lake is longer than the GSMRR, which allows time for more things to do, and the GSMRR does not have a major city at a terminus to draw from (Utica).

    Look up this link and see what could be. There’s nothing the GSMRR does the ADKRR can’t do. http://www.gsmr.com/?crcat=brand~gsmr-railroad&crsource=adwords&crkw=great%20smoky%20mountain%20railroad&crcampaign=56749168988&gclid=CIeBtKKY9cECFe_m7AodynkA9A

    • Paul says:

      In considering what to do with this corridor and wether or not to rip out the rail infrastructure it must considered what the possible usage would be for a full length rail line. Looking at the numbers for the short spurs that exist now doesn’t make any sense from a long-term planning perspective.

      Given the remoteness of the RR corridor in places I am not sure that a full length trail would ever make sense. For snowmobiles sure, for bikers probably not too popular. But some people would want to do it. I always wanted to make one of those rail bikes and explore the entire RR line.

      Has the ADKRR tried to hook up with the heritage RR company that operates this NC RR as well as the Durango and Silverton RR?

      • Bruce says:

        Paul, I wasn’t aware that GSMRR was operated by an outside company. I did look it up though, and sent an e-mail to the CEO of Heritage asking if anything was going on with the ADKRR.

        I haven’t received a reply yet. My feeling is if there is any interest on Heritage’s part, they will wait to see what the outcome concerning the corridor north will be.

        I do believe if the tracks are retained and Heritage gets involved, the ADKRR will be a bang-up concern.

        • Paul says:

          No quite as remote as a place like Chicago Basin along the Durango and Silverton RR but perhaps this RR if it were running full length year round it could have flag stops for hikers and maybe even paddlers (canoe and kayak car?) You can access many of these places other ways but maybe the experience would be something that would appeal to some. Of course the train is also available for other riders as well like with the D&S. Perhaps you could refurbish things like the RR station near Lake Lila? Does that have historical status or is that part of the Whitney Wilderness?

    • Bruce says:

      Paul, interesting concept, a rail bike. My e-mail to Heritage came back undeliverable. I’ll try again, perhaps I can find another e-mail address for them.

  15. Bruce says:

    The ADKRR is supporting a rails with trails option for the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid corridor. They also explained what would be involved with doing away with the existing rail corridor.

    As the ADKRR is listed in the National Register of historic places, there is a lot more to replacing the rails with a trail than just tearing up the tracks and building a trail, as stated by trail supporters. Since the feds would be involved, there could possibly be court cases going on for years, which would not be beneficial to anyone. My understanding is that as long as the ADKRR stays, there is no conflict with the feds. As it stands, the matter appears to be solely in the hands of the state, and should remain that way for everyone’s benefit.

    ADKRR is also raising money to refurbish two more passenger cars, which at the present usage rate will make room for 11,000 more riders over the course of a year. Why would they bother if it was felt the rails were coming out?

    • Steve says:

      First the DEC and DOT said that the historic status is not a roadblock to removing the rails. Should we be surprised that RR supporters want to scare us from making the best use of the corridor?

      Secondly, restore new cars that could carry 11k more passengers. Is the RR really limited by number of seats? Has the Northern end ever sold out? Adding cars will magically increase demand by 11k? They are restoring them because the only successful segment, the southern end, is not going anywhere.

  16. Hope says:

    There is nothing difficult about dealing with the National Historic Register and it is the Corridor that is historic not the rails. Historic interpretation can be done all along the trail. You should do a little research.

  17. Bruce says:

    There are few things which will guarantee a significant positive economic impact in the Adirondacks, one of which would be proven knowledge of Bigfoot in the area; another might be an indoor Six Flags or Disneyworld. Other things such as a grand trail, or more comprehensive rail service, have no such guarantees, because their benefit can only be projected based on past practice, or the experience gained from similar projects elsewhere. They are just projections, not fact.

    Why not hedge our bets and go for some version of the Rails and Trails scenario, which I didn’t originally think much of, but now realize it is probably the best option.

  18. James Falcsik says:

    Great comment Bruce…I am laughing hard at Bigfoot..lol. So true.