Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Rail Trail Debate’

Monday, November 17, 2014

DEC Misinformed Public In Rail-Trail Slide Show

Bog RiverAt recent meetings on the Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor, the state misinformed the public about the legal implications of removing tracks that cross rivers between Big Moose and Tupper Lake.

The public was told that the state’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act would prohibit the state from restoring the railroad tracks between Big Moose and Tupper Lake if they were removed.

In a slide show, the state Department of Environmental Conservation noted that railroad bridges generally are not permitted over rivers classified as Wild or Scenic. It said the railroad crosses three such rivers south of Tupper Lake: the Moose, Bog, and Raquette. » Continue Reading.



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.

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Train Supporters Stand By Rails-With-Trails Option

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)Supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad continue to insist, contrary to assertions by state officials, that it’s possible to keep the tracks and build trails in and out of the 34-mile rail corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

The Trails with Rails Action Committee (TRAC) has prepared maps and engineer’s drawings showing where trails could be located within the corridor and, where that’s not feasible, where spur trails could be built that leave and re-enter the corridor. The map of TRAC’s proposed trails and sample engineer’s drawings can be found on the group’s website.

TRAC members will be attending public meetings in Tupper Lake and Lake Placid today and tomorrow to discuss their ideas with state officials and the media. (Prepared remarks of two members can also be found on the group’s website.)

» Continue Reading.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Would Rail Trail Cost Taxpayers $20M Or Nothing?

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)The state Department of Transportation estimates that it would cost about $20 million to convert 70 miles of rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid to a recreational trail.

Joe Hattrup says he can do it for free.

Hattrup asserts that the sale of the rails and other steel hardware would cover the costs of removing the tracks and creating a trail that could be used by snowmobilers in winter and cyclists in other seasons. The trail would have a stone-dust surface suitable for road bikes.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

State Rules Out Rails-With-Trails Compromise

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the first of four public meetings on the future of the Adirondack rail corridor, state officials made it clear Tuesday night that a rails-with-trails compromise is not an option–which likely did not sit well with the many supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in the crowd.

About 100 people packed a room at the State Office Building in Utica to hear representatives of the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation outline their plans for amending the 90-mile corridor’s management plan.

The departments have proposed removing the tracks in the 34-mile section between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid and building a multi-use trail for road biking, hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. The state would retain and rehabilitate the tracks south of Tupper Lake.

» Continue Reading.



Friday, October 17, 2014

NYS Seeks Comments On Best Use Of Historic RR Corridor

NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT) have announced that they are seeking public input through December 15 on an amendment to the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor (the Corridor).  The UMP governs the use of the 119-mile rail corridor, which has been the subject of much recent debate over the future of the historic rail line. Four public comment sessions are scheduled to discuss the possible amendment.

According to the notice issued to the press: “DEC and DOT will develop a draft UMP amendment to evaluate the use of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment for a recreational trail. The agencies say they are also examining opportunities to maintain and realize the full economic potential of rail service from Utica to Tupper Lake, and reviewing options to create and expand alternative snowmobile corridors, and other trails, to connect communities from Old Forge to Tupper Lake on existing state lands and conservation easements.” » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 1, 2014

Will Fixing The Tracks Cost $15M or $44M?

Adirondack Scenic Railroad -Nancie BattagliaIf you’ve been following the debate over the Old Forge-to-Lake Placid rail corridor (and who hasn’t?), you probably have seen the widely disparate estimates on how much it would cost to restore rail service over the entire line.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad says reconstructing the unused portion of the tracks—some sixty-eight miles—would cost about $15 million. Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), which is pushing the state to replace the tracks with a multi-use trail, puts that figure at around $44 million.

Which figure is correct?

They both are.

» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bicycling Coalition Happy With Rail-Trail Proposal

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)The New York Bicycling Coalition has kept a low profile in the debate over the future of the Adirondack rail corridor, but its proposal for the 119-mile corridor is similar to the one set forth by the state.

Last September, the coalition’s executive director, Josh Wilson, wrote the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to call for removing the tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a trail for biking and other non-motorized activities in spring, summer, and fall.

“NYBC believes that such a trail would be unparalleled in New York State and the Northeast,” Wilson wrote Raymond Hessinger, director of DOT’s Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau. “A trail on this segment of the Corridor would serve to connect three ‘hub’ communities of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake with multiple other access points in between.” » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is Rails With Trails A Practical Solution?

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)Supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad continue to push for keeping the tracks at the Lake Placid end of the rail line and for creating a “rails-with-trails” option for bikers, hikers, snowmobilers, and others who want to use the state-owned corridor.

The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society, which operates the railroad, said in a news release last week that a multi-use travel corridor best serves the public interest. “Rails and trails can exist and work successfully together,” it declared.

On Monday, a volunteer group called Trails with Rail Action Committee (TRAC) also voiced support for this idea. TRAC says it has been working with state officials “to identify recreational trails within the existing Remsen to Lake Placid travel corridor and looks forward to contributing to realizing the full economic potential of this important asset in the Adirondacks.”

» Continue Reading.



Friday, July 11, 2014

State Expects To Solicit Rail-Trail Ideas This Fall

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)State officials hope to hold public meetings on the future of the Adirondack rail corridor this fall, the state’s environmental conservation commissioner told Adirondack Almanack.

Known as scoping sessions, the meetings will be held to solicit the public’s ideas for the 90-mile corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid.

Following the meetings, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation will analyze the public comments and develop a draft management plan for the corridor. The departments will hold public hearings on the draft before issuing a final version of the plan.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said he hopes the final plan will be adopted sometime in the second half of next year.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

State To Consider Removing Tracks East Of Tupper Lake

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)After several years of public debate, the state has decided to consider tearing up the tracks and establishing a bike trail in at least part of a 90-mile rail corridor that cuts through the heart of the Adirondack wilderness.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation announced today that they would reopen the management plan for the corridor and look at establishing a recreational trail in the 34 miles between the villages of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. In addition, the state will examine the possibility of expanding rail service on the rest of the line between Tupper Lake and Old Forge.

“Our goal is to protect our natural resources, while also exploring ways to increase opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in the Adirondacks,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a news release. “We recognize that the future of the Remsen-to-Lake Placid Travel Corridor is important to local residents, communities, and the regional economy.”

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Connecting A Rail Trail With The Northville-Placid Trail

Rail Trail With Northville Placid Trail Connection MapA reader of my recent blog post “A Proposal For Rail AND Trail” asked the question, “Is it feasible to connect the Northville-Lake Placid Trail to a trail alongside the railroad tracks?”

I took a look at the map and sure enough it would be quite easy to extend the Northville-Lake Placid Trail 1.25 miles across the Averyville Road through the Saranac Lake Wild Forest and have it join the rail corridor. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Jack Drury: A Proposal For Rail AND Trail

Rail.locator (2)(1)I’ve been an advocate of more recreational trails throughout the park for a long time. I also feel that we’ll be cheated if we don’t try our damnedest to try to have a rail and trail, side by side where possible and intersecting when not.

In a March 16 letter to the Utica Observer Dispatch respected trail advocate Tony Goodwin noted that a rail with trail, “… is not physically possible” and that:  “Periodically leaving the corridor is so far just talk. A year ago, Tupper Lake rail supporters formed a committee to look at a parallel trail from Tupper Lake to the campground at Rollins Pond. I know committee members made field inspections, but so far there’s no plan showing that a parallel trail could feasibly be built.”

I decided to take a deeper look. I talked with some folks from Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake who have explored the rail corridor in greater detail than I have. I took their information and combined it with my own experience and I made a map of a possible trail from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake.  » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unanswered Rail-Trail Questions

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)For more than two years, rail-trail activists have been pushing state officials to end decades of financial support for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and convert a ninety-mile rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid into a year-round multi-use recreational trail.

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) has argued that the tourism train has been a financial failure, requiring too much taxpayer support, and claimed that a rail trail would provide a bigger tourism draw. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dick Beamish Commentary On Rail-Trail Debate

Rail.locator (2)(1)Words of wisdom can be found in the latest issue of the Conservationist magazine, published bimonthly by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. In his introductory letter to readers, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens makes the following comments that have special application to the proposed Adirondack Rail Trail that would run 90 miles between Old Forge and Lake Placid. Following the Commissioner’s comments are observations of our own. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Community Based Trails And The Rail-Trail Debate

The Adirondack Rail Corridor in Ray Brook (Jack Drury Photo)Is it just us or is there something missing from the discussion of rails and trails? Why is the discussion of trails limited to one rail bed (of many within the park) rather than exploring the larger question of, “What are the trail needs park wide?”

Rather than looking at the rail – trail debate in isolation from the larger issue of creating and enhancing recreational opportunities within the Adirondack Park, we should focus on exploring the idea of an Adirondack Park Community-Based Trail System.

The rail – trail issue can and should only be addressed after we have acknowledged and prioritized our park-wide trail needs. What follows is a vision for such a trail system in the Adirondack Park and, although the process for such an effort needs to be determined and articulated, it is a vision that would benefit the entire Adirondack Park and its communities. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

State Nears Decision In Railroad Debate

MAPUPDATEState officials are nearing a decision on whether to open the management plan for a railroad corridor that runs through Adirondack wilderness.

The future of the corridor has been the subject of public debate for a few years. At issue is whether the rails should be removed to create a multi-use recreational trail.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held meetings in September to gather input from the public. On Wednesday, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said staff at both agencies have been reviewing and evaluating hundreds of comments.

Martens said a decision is not too far off.  “It’s weeks, not months away, I’m hoping,” he told Adirondack Almanack. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Public Meetings Planned On Future Of Historic RR Line

NYCRR-Adk-Div-MapThe 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. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Commentary: ARTA Rail Trail, Economic No-Brainer

Elroy Sparta TrailHere’s a classic Adirondack contradiction of the kind that drives me crazy.

For a thousand years we have had a perceived face-off in the Adirondacks (sometimes perception is reality, sometimes not, right?), one which plays out every day on the pages of the Almanack – and everywhere else there is an outlet for opinion.  In the green corner we have the the preservationists and environmentalists who want more wilderness, more protection for the ecology of the park and less development.  In the blue corner we have many local residents, businesses and government leaders who want to see healthier communities.  They see the restrictive policies of DEC, the APA and the preservationist agenda as a big problem and they see the balance between preservation and the welfare of the residents of the park as out of whack.  They love the wilderness too but they would like fewer restrictions on development, a green light for the ACR and a wider variety of recreational uses for the Forest Preserve.  Okay.  Whichever of the myriad of associated positions and disputes may be rhetoric and whichever may be real, everyone knows this story. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 6, 2013

State To Reconsider Use Of Adirondack Rail Corridor

ray-brook-railThe state announced today that it intends to revisit the management plan for a controversial rail corridor that traverses the Adirondacks, but don’t expect a quick decision.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation have only just begun to prepare for a lengthy review that will include plenty of opportunity for public input.

A decision on the best use of the 119-mile corridor will take at least a year, according to DOT spokesman Beau Duffy. » Continue Reading.



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