The 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.”
Public comment on amending the UMP is being accepted until December 15. Comments can be sent by email to email@example.com, mailed to NYS Travel Corridor, NYS DOT Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau, 50 Wolf Road, POD 5-4, Albany NY 12232 or provided verbally during four public comment meetings scheduled to take place:
October 28, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM in Utica at the State Office Building
October 29, 2014 1:00-3:00 PM in Old Forge at the View
November 6, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM in Tupper Lake at the Wild Center
November 7, 2014 1:00-3:00 PM in Lake Placid at ORDA
“Community input is vital in determining future uses for this unique corridor and we encourage people to attend these public meetings to make their voices heard,” DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said a prepared statement. “DOT is partnering with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the public to examine the best course of action to maximize economic, environmental and transportation benefits from the corridor.”
“We are taking a comprehensive, careful approach to this major transportation corridor in the middle of the Adirondack Park because we realize how important future uses of this artery are to the people and communities of the Adirondacks,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens’ statement said. “The upcoming public comment meetings will give the public and stakeholders a great chance to help the two agencies craft an amended UMP that serves the public good.”
The rest of the DEC/DOT press release follows:
“Amending the 1996 UMP/EIS will enable DEC and DOT to thoroughly review those aspects of the 1996 UMP/EIS that recommend enhanced recreational opportunities and community connections, and to examine alternatives for the best future use of the Corridor along the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment. DEC and DOT will work with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and public stakeholders, including local officials and residents, to assess alternatives that reflect current realities along the corridor and potential environmental and economic impacts.
“The 60-day public comment period will provide a transparent and public means of gathering information for use in a proposed amendment of the 1996 UMP/EIS that would maximize benefits from public use of the corridor and conform with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
“Following public comment, DEC and DOT will prepare a Draft UMP Amendment and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement EIS) in 2015, which will explore opportunities to increase recreational use of the rail corridor and ensure it promotes tourism and economic growth in the surrounding communities. Additional public input on a draft UMP Amendment will be conducted by APA, with the goal of completing a final UMP Amendment later in 2015.”