Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Comments Sought On APA’s Rail-Trail Plan Review

NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA), at its November board meeting, announced a public comment period for Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance regarding proposals from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to amend the 1996 Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (1996 Plan).

APA will accept Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance comments until December 18, 2015

The Proposed Final 2015 UMP Amendment/FSEIS includes a plan to divide the travel corridor into a rail segment and a trail segment.  The plan  would allow rail service from the Big Moose Station to the Tupper Lake Station (Segment 1), and the rail line between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid (Segment 2) would be removed and converted to a recreation trail.

The final plan is available to view or download on APA’s website.

The public is encouraged to comment on how the proposal conforms to the guidelines and criteria of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.  The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan is available to view or download from the Adirondack Park Agency’s website – www.apa.ny.gov.

Address all written comments pertaining to Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance to:

Kathy Regan
Deputy Director for Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977
Fax: (518) 891-3938
Email – SLMP_Comments@apa.ny.gov

Submit all conformance comments to the APA by December 18, 2015.

You can learn more about the issues surrounding the rail-trail controversy here.

Photo: The rail line in question looking north from Lake Clear Lodge. Photo by John Warren.


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8 Responses

  1. Shane Sloan says:

    1000’s of miles of trails for hikers of all skill levels, and they need to destroy a beloved piece of history to BUILD one? Anybody who comes to the Adirondacks to hike will have absolutely no interest in this trail.

    • Boreas says:

      Shane,

      1. It wasn’t that beloved, which is why it fell into disrepair due to lack of use and ridership.

      2. It isn’t all being destroyed – only about the last quarter of it. The more historical and arguably scenic section is to be repaired per the agreement. This will make more of the rail corridor usable than it is now.

      3. The last section will become a 4-season multi-use recreational trail, not a hiking trail. There is a big difference.

      4. Both trails will terminate in Tupper Lake, giving the economy there a boost.

  2. Paul says:

    If a trail for hiking, skiing, and snowmobiles can have a “travel corridor” designation under the ASLMP why can’t any trail with similar uses get such a designation?

    I guess they could. Any road that was converted to a hiking trail after Forest Preserve acquisition should have been eligible for a travel corridor designation. I assumed that this particular corridor was given that specific designation because it had a RR.

    Isn’t this a bait and switch? Shouldn’t the section that has a trail be designated as something that is more appropriate for a trail.

    • Avon says:

      Paul’s right that we don’t want just any hiking trail to be designated for all these other uses.

      I understand that a “travel corridor” comes with all sorts of legal implications under the APA regulations – basically exempting it from Park-like activity limits. It’s very true that hikers and snowshoers would avoid it like the plague if they’re liable to get run over by scrums of bicycles and snowmobiles. But unless a trail actually is designated a “travel corridor,” can that happen?

      I think the rail route between Tupper and Placid isn’t so very “scenic” for tourists; it’s remarkably flat and often swampy or deeply forested. But so what? I like trains and I’ve enjoyed tourist rides a few times, but still, I’m sure tourists and families who like train rides would rather visit Placid than Tupper, and would rather take an hour-long ride where any views are of the High Peaks than spend half a day in the Sabattis or Thendara wilderness – especially at a much higher ticket price. So the APA plan does railfans no favors, and taking the dessert out of the feast could well be the kiss of death to any plan to restore train rides.

  3. Bellota says:

    It could be called a “path” or a “passage” – for promotional purposes it could be dubbed – “The Great Adirondack Passage” and then acronymed into “GAP.” But then it could be confused with The Great Allegheny Passage that connects Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.

  4. Phil Brown says:

    Generally, Travel Corridors as defined in the State Land Master Plan are highways, and regulations pertain to signage and such. The RR corridor is an exception. DEC and APA say it will remain a Travel Corridor as long as it remains in the custody of DOT. Old woods roads in the Forest Preserve are in the custody of DEC. They are not Travel Corridors.

    • Paul says:

      Just seems strange that a trail like this would remain as a travel corridor given the change in use (here I am referring to just the rail trail section).

      Phil, I still think it remains an open question as to whether the DEC has jurisdiction over certain roads. But that is a different topic for discussion.

      My main comment on this plan is why would it make sense to disconnect two of the largest towns in the Adirondacks from a project to refurbish the RR. I have thought all along that it should be all one thing or all the other.

      • Tim says:

        There is no travel on the rails now. Even the segments being used, it’s purely for recreation. The rest has been basicly abononed for 35 years. I don’t see keeping the trace corridor status as any more of a stretch. Plus it keeps the status for the future. There may be a need for a train here in a hundred years or so.