Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Rail Trail Debate’

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dave Gibson: APA’s Response To Rail-Trail Comments Falls Short

Train-300x241 Nancie BattagliaBy this stage the NYS APA, DEC, and DOT may feel justified that they have adequately addressed public comments about the future of the Remsen-Lake Placid Railroad Travel Corridor. Having hosted listening sessions in 2013-14 and several public comment periods in 2015, the last one concluding in December, the DEC’s unit management plan amendment goes on, page after page, responding to questions and comment. The DEC responses justify the preferred alternative of separate corridor segments; segment one with rail from Remsen terminating at Tupper Lake, the other, an all-recreational segment two between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, without rail. The underlying economic studies doubtless contributed to the result, as do the physical obstacles to rail with trail, but the compromise seems almost unavoidable in light of the often clamorous, divided public point and counterpoint.

Still, one would have hoped that in its mailing to Agency members this month APA staff would have gone the extra mile in describing and analyzing the public comments in explaining why the Travel Corridor UMP amendment, and the creation of the two corridor segments (and much else in the UMP) complies with the State Land Master Plan. That was the purpose of the public comment period ending in mid-December. That is the decision APA Members will have to make next week in Ray Brook. The case for compliance, the major policy issues facing the APA, and staff’s assessment of public comment letters visa vi those important policy questions should form the basis of an informed decision, right? » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 5, 2016

APA Staff Finds Rail-Trail Proposal Conforms To Law

Train-300x241 Nancie BattagliaThe Adirondack Park Agency staff has concluded that a controversial proposal to replace the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake with a recreational trail conforms to the Park’s State Land Master Plan.

The APA board is scheduled to vote next week on a resolution approving a plan to bifurcate the state-owned rail corridor into a rail segment and a trail segment.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation adopted the plan last year over the objections of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and its supporters.

The departments intend to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, in favor of a trail for bicycling, snowmobiling, and other activities, and refurbish 45 miles of track between Big Moose and Tupper Lake. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

APA Flooded With Comments On Rail-Trail Debate

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)The Adirondack Park Agency has received a flood of letters and emails seeking to influence its forthcoming decision on the future of a state-owned rail corridor that extends 119 miles from Remsen to Lake Placid.

At its November meeting, the APA board voted to solicit public comments on whether a plan to split the corridor into a trail segment and a rail segment complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The agency may vote on the matter as early as next month.

Comments were accepted through December 18. Pursuant to a freedom-of-information request, the Adirondack Almanack recently obtained and reviewed the comments. The PDF file provided by the agency comprises 373 pages, but it includes some duplication. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Green Groups Differ On Rail-Trail Proposal

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)Two environmental groups disagree on whether a state proposal to remove 34 miles of train tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

In a news release last week, the Adirondack Council praised the proposal, calling it “a good compromise” that protects natural resources and addresses the economic and cultural needs of the region.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, however, contends that the proposal violates the State Land Master Plan. The proposal would amend the corridor’s unit management plan (UMP) from 1996. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Harrietstown Votes To Save The Rails

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)The Harrietstown Town Board voted Thursday night in favor of keeping the local railroad tracks in place, but it’s uncertain what effect the resolution will have on a state proposal to remove the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

On a motion by Councilman Howard Riley, the board voted 4-0 to support keeping the tracks. The resolution says the rail line provides “a positive impact on the area.”

Harrietstown includes the village of Saranac Lake, whose depot is used by two local businesses: Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which runs tourist trains to and from Lake Placid, and Rail Explorers USA, which runs pedal-power excursions to and from Lake Clear.

Rail Explorers, which began operations in July, says it attracted almost 15,000 riders in its first season, which ended in the fall. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Official Responses To Rail-Trail Plan Comments

Adirondack Scenic RailroadThe wrangling over the future of the state-owned rail corridor that stretches 119 miles from Remsen to Lake Placid has proved to be one of the most contentious issues in the Adirondack Park in recent years.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation received hundreds of public comments, raising many of the same questions that have appeared in articles and comments on Adirondack Almanack.

In their final plan for the corridor, the departments summarized the comments and provided their official responses. Given the public interest in this topic, the Almanack is reprinting those comments and responses. The result is a post that is much longer than usual. Of course, you don’t have to read all the comments, but we bet some people will.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

APA Seems On Board With Rail Trail

rail_bikes_adiks_10-08-15_ncprThe Adirondack Park Agency intends to seek public comment on a plan to remove the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a recreational trail, but agency officials do not foresee any legal obstacles to the controversial proposal.

The APA has little authority to alter the proposal. Rather, its role is to determine whether it complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

If all goes as planned, the state would open the recreational trail in 2017 at the earliest. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 9, 2015

State Plans To Give Lake Placid Train One More Season

Adirondack Scenic RailroadThe state will allow Adirondack Scenic Railroad to run its tourist trains for just one more season on the tracks between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, according to a final proposal by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation.

In the proposal, released last week, the departments are sticking with their original plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake – the north end of a 119-mile rail corridor owned by the state. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rally Planned To Support Keeping Rail Line

ADIX6076-High-Peaks-Aaron-Keller-PhotoGroups working to preserve the historic Adirondack Railroad corridor have announced that a rally will be held on November 7th at noon at the Saranac Lake Union Depot.

The State of New York has proposed an amended Unit Management Plan, calling for the conversion of the Rail Corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to a 34-mile recreational trail. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rail Explorers Finds A New Use For Tracks

Rail Explorers between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear on September 24, 2015Mary-Joy Lu and Alex Catchpoole worked in advertising in New York City for 20 years and decided to get out. This year they started a rail-biking business in Saranac Lake that has been successful far beyond their expectations.

Since opening Rail Explorers on July 3, they have sold nearly 10,000 tickets for a six-mile trip between Saranac Lake and Charlies Inn at Lake Clear Junction. In addition to themselves, Lu and Catchpoole employ 15 people (though the staff will be pared when they close for the season next month). » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 14, 2015

900 Rail-Trail Comments, Few Endorse Compromise

Adirondack Scenic RailroadIt comes as no surprise that the state has received hundreds of comments on its two-part proposal to (i) replace 34 miles of railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake with a recreational trail and (ii) rehabilitate 45 miles of tracks south of Tupper Lake to Big Moose. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rail Supporters, Trail Advocates Remain Divided

Hope Frenette of ARTAAfter years of public debate and numerous public meetings, the state is nearing a final decision on the future of the rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid, but railroad supporters and rail-trail advocates continue to disagree.

On Wednesday night, the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held a public hearing on its plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and refurbish 45 miles of track between Tupper Lake and Big Moose (a depot northeast of Old Forge).

About 120 people attended the hearing at Tupper Lake’s high school, and 38 spoke. Some favored the state’s plan, seeing it as a reasonable compromise. Rail supporters, however, opposed the removal of tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, while trail advocates opposed the state’s spending millions of dollars to fix up the rail line south of Tupper Lake.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rail-Trail Decision Announced

NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have announced their long-awaited decision in a controversial effort to tear up most of the 119-mile historic railroad running through the central Adirondacks. The decision has been issued in the form of a proposed amendment to the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (UMP).

The plan would remove the rails between Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid in favor of a multi-use recreational trail for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. It also calls for maintaining the railroad from Remsen to Big Moose Station and rehabilitating the 45 miles of rail from Big Moose to the Village of Tupper Lake.  Also included is a plan to use at least some of the corridor as a long-range snowmobile trail that would connect to communities along the line, including Beaver River. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Adirondackers Await Rail Corridor Decision

Train_overhead-Nancie BattagliaAfter four public meetings on the future of the eighty-mile rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid, the public seems as divided as ever, and the state now must make a decision sure to leave many people unhappy.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation plan to review the public comments and make a recommendation for the best use of the state-owned corridor. After the public has had a chance to weigh in on that recommendation, the departments will make a final decision. » Continue Reading.


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.


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